Juvenile officer to be dismissed from lawsuit

A motion has been filed in federal court to drop a juvenile officer who was named in a lawsuit filed by a juvenile alleging he was beaten while being held at the Jack Jones Juvenile Detention Center last year.

The juvenile, Chaderious Avery, and his mother, Karen Walls, filed suit against Roderick Shelby, who was a part-time Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy Sheriff and Chief of Staff for Juvenile Judge Earnest E. Brown Jr. The suit also named Brown and Jose Rivera, a juvenile officer at the center.

Sheriff Gerald Robinson was later added to the suit because it was alleged that he had direct supervision over Shelby and Rivera.

Brown was dropped from that suit shortly after it was filed.

In a court filing Wednesday, the attorney for Walls and Avery asked that Rivera also be dropped and that request was also signed by attorney Gene McKissic, who is representing Shelby in his individual capacity, and attorney C. Burt Newell, who is representing Robinson and Shelby in an official capacity.

Both Robinson and Shelby were sued in their individual and official capacities. Also Wednesday, Newell asked the federal court to dismiss all the official capacity claims against both men.

The motion cited excerpts from testimony given by Walls, Avery, Shelby and Robinson, as well as a copy of the sheriff’s department policy on the use of force.

The lawsuit contains a statement of facts not in dispute prepared by Newell and attorney Ralph Ohm. The statement reported that on April 18, 2011, Shelby was escorting Avery from the juvenile courtroom to the detention center when the two allegedly got involved in a verbal altercation, “which soon led to fisticuffs,”

“During the physical altercation between Shelby and Avery, Shelby punched Avery in the face,” the court filing said.

The original lawsuit claimed that Rivera was with Shelby at the time of the incident.

Walls filed a complaint against Shelby to Robinson, who ordered an internal affairs investigation into the incident, which recommended that Shelby be fired, for among other things, violating use of force policies by both the sheriff’s department and juvenile detention center.

The statement of facts reported that Robinson fired Shelby as a deputy, and also noted that Shelby had never been accused of excessive force during his 12 years with the sheriff’s department, and “was fully trained and a certified law enforcement officer following his training and graduation from the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy in 1995.”

The statement of facts also said that Shelby was aware of the department’s use of force policy “concerning the use of force that a deputy sheriff should only use such force as necessary to contain the situation at hand and to never use more force than an assailant uses toward a deputy sheriff.”

“Neither Sheriff Robinson nor the plaintiff, Karen Walls, nor the plaintiff Chadarious Avery had any idea that Deputy Shelby would, upon provocation, punch a detainee in the face in efforts to restrain him,” the statement said.