NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – The New Hanover County Sheriff's Office is involved in a legal battle that could wind up at the United States Supreme Court. The case involves the untimely arrest of a man wanted by deputies.
A recent decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals explains the events surrounding the arrest of Gladwyn Russ III.
Russ was wanted for communicating threats in 2008. Deputies tried for months to serve him with a warrant and ultimately connected with Russ while he was making arrangements for his father's funeral.
Sheriff Ed McMahon, who was chief deputy at the time, made an agreement with Russ to turn himself in after the funeral, but the plan changed and deputies arrived at the service.
As Russ finished loading his father's casket, two plain-clothed deputies approached him. They did not identify themselves as law enforcement, nor did they explain what was going on.
One deputy's gun fell to the ground and another tazed Russ.
The deputies involved were orally reprimanded, according to the court document. McMahon also apologized to the families for the incident.
New Hanover County has an outside legal team, but there are no legal fees to be paid. The county paid a $25,000 deductible, so the rest is covered by its insurance company.
The county has up to 90 days to appeal the decision to the US Supreme Court.