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Summary Judgment granted in suit against Sheriff Waters and County

Voice Staff Report

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Wier granted Sheriff Randy Waters and McCreary County’s motion for Summary Judgment in a law suit filed in June, 2019 by Tracy Gibson against Sheriff Randy Waters (individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff) and McCreary County asking for $250,000 in damages.   Gibson’s law suit against Sheriff Randy Waters alleged “excessive use of force upon Plaintiff (Gibson), malicious prosecution, false imprisonment and other unconstitutional practices” after her arrest, detention, and prosecution for disorderly conduct, second degree. 

Judge Wier’s opinion and order for summary judgment was filed February 17, 2022 in the U.S. District Court London, KY. Judge Wier found that Sheriff Waters had probable cause for bringing charges and to arrest Gibson for disorderly conduct in the second degree and that police officers, not Sheriff Waters, did not use excessive force when she was arrested. Also, that Sheriff Waters played no part in the circumstances or particulars of her custody. 

Gibson sued Randy Waters individually. Judge Wier’s opinion stated Gibson did not establish the “violation of a constitutional, statutory or other clearly established right.” Also noted in the opinion and order that “if the plaintiff cannot prove [an element] the officer needs no immunity.”

Gibson sued McCreary County for cruel and unusual punishment, false arrest and malicious prosecution.  The County claimed sovereign immunity. Judge Wier’s opinion and order states “sovereign immunity shields McCreary County” and granted McCreary County summary judgment.  

Judge Wier concluded by stating that the defendants properly supported their summary judgment effort and the plaintiff shirked her duty to respond. “The court has, despite that, carefully surveyed the case under the applicable law and the arguments. No triable claims appear.” The Court granted summary judgment to Sheriff Waters and McCreary County and directed the Clerk to strike the matter from the Court’s active docket. 

The issue arose with the disappearance of Darren Kidd in January 2018.  Gibson began her own investigation into Kidd’s disappearance asking the public for information at the same time the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department was investigating Kidd’s disappearance. 

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