A Franklin County sheriff’s deputy, who was fired earlier this year after an internal investigation found him guilty of four counts, including use of unnecessary force and conduct unbecoming resulting from a 2020 incident, filed a civil wrongful termination lawsuit against Sheriff Chris Quire and Deputy Chief Dwayne Dep.

Former FCSO Sergeant. Nathan Doty was relieved of his duties effective January 4 after authorities discovered body camera video footage from January 1, 2020, showing him repeatedly shoving an arrested Franklin County resident, who was handcuffed to a hospital bed at the Frankfurt Regional Medical Center, by the throat and putting his hands over the man’s mouth.

Tony Austin, who admitted he was very drunk at the time and combative with deputies, told LEX18 he had no recollection of the incident but asked for Doty’s body camera footage via an open check-in request after a friend told him he was being abused in hospital.






Nathan Doty, top left, and his attorney Mary Sharp listen as Sheriff Chris Quire, far right, reads his decision to terminate Doty from the Franklin County Sheriff‘s Office on January 4. Chief Deputy Dwayne Depp, left, leads the investigation that led to Doty’s shooting. (State Journal file photo)


“Time doesn’t matter. It’s a shame we didn’t know because there were no reports made, so once we found out that the records were open (request) we had to fill it out. And that’s when we realized what happened,” Quire said of the fact that it took nearly two years for the incident to come to light. “At the end of the day, it’s a tough decision, but we can’t defend it or allow it to happen.”

According to his arrest citation, deputies were sent to a residence three times that night to calm Austin down following a family dispute. At one point, a deputy told him that it was in his interest to go to bed.

He was charged with first-degree disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, two Class A misdemeanors, and threatening, a Class B misdemeanor. Austin later pleaded guilty to amended charges of disorderly conduct and alcohol poisoning in a public place. According to the plea agreement, the resistance arrest charge was dismissed.

Following his arrest, Austin was placed in a cruiser. When he complained of chest pains and difficulty breathing, he was rushed to hospital where the incident happened around 11:38 p.m.

Through an open-record request, the State Journal obtained a copy of body camera footage from that night.

In the audio stream, Austin and Doty scream. The former law enforcement officer can also be heard telling Austin to stop using racial slurs when referring to FCSO MP Philip Ray, one of the other MPs in the room. Ray eventually steps in to try to defuse the situation between the two.

Doty was hired as Deputy Sheriff on October 1, 2019.

Before coming to the sheriff’s office, he worked for the Lawrenceburg Police Department for 13 years. As the LPD’s Senior Patrolman, he performed night patrol duties, emergency and non-emergency service calls, investigated crimes against persons and property, and prepared case reports for district and circuit court hearings.

Before being hired at Lawrenceburg, he served in the United States Navy for 10 years between 1996 and 2006 and participated in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to his personnel file.

On Sept. 4, 2020 — about four months before he met Austin — Doty was promoted to sergeant at FCSO.

In fact, during his March 24, 2021 performance review, he scored “very good” in all categories, which included quality, productivity, work knowledge, attendance, initiative, respect for politics, interpersonal relationships, judgment, case management, productivity effectiveness and problems. performance resolution, subordinate development, policy compliance and communication.

“I appreciate the hard work you put in every day. You are an asset to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office,” Quire wrote in Doty’s assessment.

Investigation

Austin submitted his request for recordings and video footage of the incident on November 2, 2021.

“During the process of collecting the requested documents, video footage of the incident was discovered which raised concerns about your actions during the arrest and custody of a male subject,” a Quire wrote in a Nov. 15 written notice regarding the disciplinary charge against Doty, which appeared in his personnel file. “Due to possible criminal and political infractions, which may have occurred during the incident, you are immediately suspended with pay until further notice.”

Following his suspension, Doty was required to surrender his agency-issued firearms, ID, badge, keys and vehicle until the investigation was completed.

The administrative charges against Doty and the definition included in the FCSO Policy Manual were:

• Conduct Unbecoming — “Deputies shall not engage in on- or off-duty conduct or activities that reflect discredit on the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, tend to disrespect this agency, or harm the its effective and efficient operation.”

• De-escalation — “Deputies should take a proactive approach to de-escalate situations that clearly indicate a risk of misconduct. When it is objectively reasonable for a person to be completely under the control of law enforcement, the force must cease.

• Non-Deadly Force — “Deputies are required to complete a Resistance Response Form for all uses of force resulting in injury or complaint of injury to the Deputies or subject, or when physical force other than takeover is used.

“When such force is used, the deputy should immediately contact the Detective Sergeant or designate of the sheriff, who should respond to the scene, when possible, and investigate the incident. A resistance response form should be prepared to document the use of force. »

• Other — “Use of force that was not necessary in the circumstances presented”.

According to his personnel file, the factual basis for the charges was found in body camera video, which captured Doty’s use of force on Austin. He received a copy of the investigation report and all documents, attachments and recordings referenced in the report and three body camera videos, including his body camera video of the incident involving the use of force on Austin.

Doty was entitled to have his attorney present at the hearing as well as subpoenaed witnesses.

Following the hearing, in which he was found guilty of the charges against him, his employment with the sheriff’s office was effectively terminated on Jan. 4, records show.

“I knew we couldn’t defend that or fix it through mentorship or training,” Quire told the State Journal. “It was not acceptable and he couldn’t work here and be part of our team.”

Doty’s Trial

The civil suit filed on Doty’s behalf by his attorney, Mary Sharp of Louisville, alleges defamation of character by slander and libel and that he was unlawfully terminated.

In a statement, Sharp maintained Doty’s innocence of any crime or policy violation.

“Even my neutral expert 100% agreed that my client did nothing wrong. We still stand by that position,” she said. “My expert testifies for officers who acted appropriately and testified against those who don’t. So he’s honest.

According to the suit, Austin, who was handcuffed to the bed railings to restrain him so hospital staff could treat him, grabbed and dug his fingernails into Ray’s arm as the deputy tried to untie him at the hospital. He also used racial slurs and hateful language towards the deputy as he sat up in bed and struggled against restraints.

“In order to gain control and compliance, Complainant (Doty) pushed the inmate back onto the bed to defuse his behavior and with his hand and forearm pushed Austin’s face away from deputies and staff in order to ‘avoid biting and spitting in an approved manner to protect deputies, hospital staff, and to prevent Austin from harming himself by leaning against the handcuffs,’ the lawsuit states.

He also adds that Quire and Depp ignored the sworn testimony of an expert witness on the use of force, who reviewed the entire investigation and witness statements and explained that what had happened past did not constitute an excessive use of force.

“The ‘charges’ of misconduct were vague and without sufficient specificity to allow the plaintiff to know what conduct would have violated the administrative charges and therefore rendered him unable to mount a meaningful defense,” the lawsuit adds.

It also says Doty was never interviewed by an investigator or able to explain what happened and that the administrative hearing took place more than two years after the reported incident. The lawsuit claims that Doty’s hearing rights and the due process requirements of KRS 15.520 were not met and asks that the court grant arrears and reinstatement in addition to other remedies.

“The FCSO (Quire and Depp) held a press conference with the media, including Lexington News Channel 36 on January 4, 2022, and advised the reporter that there was an ongoing criminal trial with the Commonwealth Prosecutor and that this report was on the television news and published on the internet,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit notes that Quire and Depp’s assertion that Doty was under criminal investigation, indicted by a grand jury, arraigned and the case should go to trial is patently false and they knew none of this did not occur when they reported. This, Sharp points out, is libel under Kentucky law.

Doty asks that all administrative charges be dismissed due to unsubstantiated substantial evidence; reinstatement with back pay and benefits; monetary reimbursement for defamation, including punitive damages; attorney’s fees and expenses; and any other remedy to which the court considers he is entitled.

A hearing date has not yet been set in his case.

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