Deputy named in civil suit
By Greg Bird
A McCreary County Sheriff’s Deputy has been named in a civil lawsuit in Bowling Green alleging he assaulted a prisoner in his custody and fabricated a report while working as a Trooper with the Kentucky State Police last March.
Aaron Tucker, along with two staff members of the Warren County Regional Jail, are accused of using excessive force and misconduct, as well as conspiring to deprive the plaintiff of his civil rights.
The case was brought against Tucker and the jail staff by attorneys for Timothy Michael Heston, who spent nearly a year behind bars following the incident, but had all charges against him dropped earlier this year.
The lawsuit contends Heston, who is biracial, was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in 2013, and suffered from paranoia, hallucinations, depression and mania.
On March 17, 2019, Heston was “actively psychotic” while walking on the side of Interstate 65 in Bowling Green, attempting to get to Tennessee for his son’s birthday the court document reads.
Trooper Tucker took Heston into custody, and transported him to the Warren County Regional Jail. According to court records at the time of arrest Tucker stated Heston was verbally combative and repeatedly threatened the officer and his family.
After arriving at the jail and transferring the prisoner in the sally port, Tucker is accused of violently striking Heston multiple times with his fists, knees and a pair of steel toed boots Heston was carrying at the time of his arrest.
The lawsuit claims the officer filed a false report about the incident, wherein Tucker claimed Heston was tensing up and attempting to pull away. He also claimed Heston struck the side of his face with his head and attempted to spit on him.
Security footage from the jail, which was released in conjunction with the lawsuit, shows the confrontation from several feet away. The alleged assault, seen from behind, appears to last for about 15 seconds until jail staff enters the room to help restrain the prisoner.
Two other individuals are also named in the lawsuit, Melissa Causey and Andrew Cooper, both employees of the Warren County jail at the time of the incident. They are accused of restraining and using a taser against Heston on the days following his original arrest.
According to the lawsuit Tucker was fired from the KSP as a result of the incident and an internal investigation. State Police would not comment on the lawsuit, but did confirm Tucker was no longer employed by the KSP.
Heston’s attorneys claim that the video was purposely withheld by the KSP and jail, and only appeared as part of pretrial discovery.
The lawsuit is seeking a jury trial and unspecified damages.
Neither Tucker nor his co-defendants had filed a response to the suit as of press time this week.
McCreary County Sheriff Randy Waters is standing behind his Deputy and has no plans to suspend or terminate him as a result of the lawsuit.
Sheriff Waters said he had spoken to Tucker about the incident prior to hiring him, and agreed to take him on with a probationary period, and has had no issues with his conduct since his hiring in January.
“Aaron has done nothing during his time under my employ except show me how professional he can be and a desire to put the incident behind him,” Waters said. “This is a civil suit, and anyone can sue anyone. Someone watching the video will see what they want to see.”
The Sheriff noted Heston has a rather lengthy criminal history, including multiple charges of assault, robbery, kidnapping and arson since 2011.
Tucker was hired as a full-time Deputy for the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department in January, prior to that he had worked briefly with the McCreary County School District as a SRO.