Civil case against sheriff, deputies receives stay pending criminal trial
by Staff Report
Oct 09, 2012 | 2235 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A civil case filed June 13 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia against Sheriff Clark Millsap and three deputies was “terminated” Oct. 4 awaiting the outcome of a related criminal case, according to the court’s docket report.

Ty Rutledge, who was arrested Jan. 11 at his home, alleged actions taken by the officers were in violation of his Fourth and 14th Amendment rights.

According to court documents, the defense filed a motion to stay on Oct. 1 with Rutledge’s attorney responding the following day. Rutledge then filed a motion to strike or dismiss on Oct. 2. The defense entered a response in opposition to the motion to strike or dismiss on Oct. 4.

Judge Harold L. Murphy granted the defendants’ motion to stay proceedings, according to the docket, “denying without prejudice plaintiff’s motion to strike/dismiss. The court directs the clerk to administratively terminate this action pending notification from the parties that plaintiff’s criminal proceedings have concluded.”

Rutledge alleged in the complaint that when the three deputies arrived at Rutledge’s home on Jan. 11 to retrieve his granddaughter, the officers were “sent by defendant Millsap, who told [the child’s mother] Cassaundra Rutledge, if the child was at [Rutledge’s] home, that the officers would do whatever was necessary ... [and] they would be there with bells on.”

According to the incident report filed by one of the responding deputies, Cassaundra Rutledge called 911 after her 12-year-old daughter got into a car with her sister-in-law after school, refusing to leave with her mother. Cassaundra presented a Family Violence ex parte Protective Order filed in Bartow County Superior Court on Jan. 10, which, according to the report, “clearly states that Cassaundra’s husband [John Rutledge] is restrained from approaching within 100 yards of Cassaundra/her children, that John is not to have any contact ‘direct, indirect or through another person’ with Cassaundra and that Cassaundra is awarded temporary custody of the children.”

The deputy reported that Cassaundra said she believed the sister-in-law — Tiffany Morgan — “came to the school to pick up [her daughter] to interfere with her custody” and Cassaundra believed this was because the Rutledge family knew that she had intended on “leaving the area of Bartow County with the children because ‘they are nuts’ and ‘she was scared for her safety’ because ‘he has a gun.’”

Three possible addresses were provided to the deputy for the whereabouts of Morgan and the child. Before leaving to search one residence, the deputy called for another officer and his partner to check one of the other locations. When both locations were checked and negative contact was made with the woman and juvenile, all three deputies arrived at the third address — the home of Ty Rutledge, Cassaundra’s father-in-law.

According to the incident report, the first deputy witnessed Ty Rutledge involved in “what appeared to be a confrontational conversation and when I parked/exited my vehicle I heard an older male say, ‘She’ll be protected.’”

The deputy then reportedly approached the shut gate, secured with a bungee cord, to meet with Ty Rutledge. When the deputy asked to speak with Morgan and the juvenile, Ty Rutledge initially reportedly said he would get them, but then said no.

As the deputy reached to untangle the bungee cord and pushed the gate open, one of the other two deputies on scene said, “He’s got a gun!”

At that time, the deputy reported that Ty Rutledge had been out of his sight at the time and “handcuffs were immediately applied” and the other responding deputies said that Ty Rutledge “had put his hand under his jacket and was attempting to remove a handgun from a shoulder holster.”

In the report, the deputy said that he removed a .45 caliber Colt pistol from the holster Ty Rutledge was wearing and removed the round from the chamber before placing the weapon on the back bumper of an SUV, where he then witnessed “several rifles laying in the rear of the SUV that appeared ready for immediate use.”

At that point, Morgan exited the home and was arrested for interference with custody. The juvenile exited the house soon after and was returned to her mother. Ty Rutledge was then placed under arrest for aggravated assault on a peace officer and was transported, along with Morgan, to the jail. After speaking with a magistrate judge, warrants were issued against Ty Rutledge for aggravated assault on a peace officer and misdemeanor obstruction. Warrants also were secured against Tiffany Morgan for interference with child custody and misdemeanor obstruction.

In the complaint, Ty Rutledge claimed that he “was on his own property and armed [and] he had a permit for his pistol.” When the deputies approached, he “raised his arms and at no time whatsoever prior to his arrest made any attempt to even touch his pistol.” At all times, the suit says, Ty Rutledge was “cooperative with all three deputies and respectful towards them.”

According to the complaint, the gate had been locked and, “before [Ty Rutledge] could open the gate and without warning, [the deputy] then kicked the gate in as [Ty Rutledge] was raising his arms.”

The other deputies then alleged that Ty Rutledge had reached inside of his coat “as if to grab his weapon.” The complaint says that “the other two officers falsely stated that [Ty Rutledge] had hindered the officers.”

The complaint continued to say that, “After the arrest of [Ty Rutledge] by [one of the deputies], [Ty Rutledge] was handcuffed. [The first deputy] asked [the second] what he was doing and [the second] responded that the sheriff told him to slap heavy charges on him.”

The complaint further said that the gate was kicked in, violating the Fourth and 14th Amendments and the complaint continues to say that charges made against Rutledge were “without arguable probable cause [and] were in violation of the Fourth and 14th Amendments.”