Four more people have filed lawsuits against the City of Brooklet and a number of officers previously employed with the Brooklet Police Department. Unlike the first lawsuit reported by AllOnGeorgia two weeks ago, these suits name former chief Lawrence Norville Douglas Meyer III and do not name Lee Rogers.
The four civil suits filed name the former officers – Lawrence Norville Douglas Meyer III, John Baker, and Charles Dutton – in their official capacities and as individuals and make no official request for damages but request a jury trial, compensatory damages, and attorneys fees. All four cite violations of the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
The lawsuit claims:
- The Chief’s instruction and oversight ‘condoned’ the poor behavior;
- Officers falsified information in reports and government records;
- The City of Brooklet knew officers fabricated claims and reports;
- The Defendants carried out retalitory efforts, bullied, and harassed citizens;
- The officers exercised an unconstitutional attempt to use the color of law to chill speech by using anger against the public while in uniform
- The city “did not ensure adequate training in Constitutional Rights”
- The city failed to train and supervise employees other agents;
- The City has failed to enact changes to prevent such violations from occurring in the future
The city and the individuals each have 30 days to respond to each lawsuit individually. Everyone named in the suit has been served, including Meyer who now resides in Tennessee.
Among the lawsuits filed ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday:
Lee was the first publicly reported incident involving Dutton, Baker, and Meyer in a two-day incident that went viral on social media after Meyer was shown on camera demanding Lee leave City Hall when she went to file a complaint on Baker and Dutton.
Meyer is heard on camera telling Lee, “In the future, we will not have any mercy or toleration for y’alls constant breaking of the law and blaming it on the police department. Leave the building.” AllOnGeorgia also published body camera footage that showed Councilman Bill Griffith taking Lee’s complaint about Meyer, Baker, and Dutton on speakerphone in the presence of all three officers. An incident reporting claiming ‘disorderly conduct’ was ultimately filed on Lee.
Lee’s suit alleges that the defendant’s “actions were pervasive and sustained attempt to prevent Plaintiff from petitioning the government in redress of grievances, and to intimidate her from speaking out against the bullying conduct by Defendants.” Additionally, Lee’s suit claims false imprisonment for her traffic stop and cites retalitory efforts in claiming she acted in a disorderly manner.
PDF is large and make take a few moments to load.Brooklet PD - Cindy Lee
The details of the Lee incident are below:
Austin Donaldson & Richard Donaldson
The Donaldson case was among the earlier incidents reported by AllOnGeorgia and stemmed from an incident at the Brooklet Peanut Festival when the wife of Lawrence Norville Douglas Meyer III, who is not a police officer, detained a business owner trying to get to his business during the parade.
Baker later arrived to assist with the detention and ultimately allowed Donaldson to leave the scene, but Meyer sent a letter in the days following the incident – following Donaldson’s public complaints on social media – threatening Donaldson to stop badmouthing the police or to face citations. Donaldson was ultimately cited for speaking out against the police.
“Furthermore, if you insist on taking every opportunity to continue badmouthing this agency and its officers, then I can only conclude that you are still resistant, and will issue citations for the aforementioned violations,” Meyer wrote in a letter (which is linked below the PDFs).
Donaldson’s case claims the officers conspired to fabircate documents against the Donaldsons, used the color of the law in an unconstitutional manner, and claimed the city had an unconstitutional policy of allowing the police to intimidate citizens exercising free speech.
PDF is large and make take a few moments to load. The first is Austin Donaldson’s, the second is Richard Donaldson’s.Brooklet Police - Austin Donaldson
Brooklet PD - Richard Donaldson
The information and internal investigation relating to the complaints filed by Donaldson are below.
Price’s incident with Brooklet PD was reported in Part 3 of the Brooklet series and involved Dutton and Baker in regard to a traffic stop and Meyer after a follow-up. An arrest warrant was taken out on Price after he complained about his roadside interaction with two officers. Meyer was later recorded on body camera footage saying he would drop the charges if Price wrote a public apology and “took the monkey off the back” of the police department, which had been publicly criticized. Meyer also referred to Baker as a “loose cannon” in his meeting with Price, which is all on body camera.
The charges were never dropped by Meyer and Price had to work his way through the justice system where his charges were ultimately dismissed in Bulloch County State Court.
The lawsuit by Price claims Brooklet Police tried to unconstitutionally compel Price to admit wrongdoing by demanding he pen a letter of apology, that reports and claims were fabricated in government documents, and that Price was falsely characterized.
PDF is large and make take a few moments to load.Brooklet Police - Bryan Price (1)
The incident involving Price, with video, as reported by AllOnGeorgia back in June is below.
After Baker, Meyer, Dutton, and Rogers left the Brooklet Police Department, the city hired eight new officers and retained Lee Craft, who is now serving as chief. Among the new hires is a former Statesboro Police officer who reported had a troubled training history and could not pass the minimum standards set forth by the SPD. City officials in Brooklet declined to answer questions related to the hiring practices and the officers with concerning pasts.
The Brooklet City Council went into executive session during the November council meeting to discuss pending litigation, but Georgia law does not require that discussions in executive session regarding litigation be announced to the public.
You can read the back story on Brooklet and the ongoing investigation as reported by AllOnGeorgia in the links below.
Part 1 — Fmr Chief in Brooklet acknowledged citing business owner for speaking out against PD
Part 2 — VIDEO: Fmr. Brooklet Chief to Motorist: ‘I’m going to work to get you fired’ during speeding-related traffic stop
Part 3 — VIDEO: Brooklet PD secured warrant day after man filed complaint about traffic stop
Part 4– Documents show Brooklet Council teetered on officer discipline despite findings of wrongdoing
Part 5 – Brooklet Chief Retroactively Issued Citation to Motorist after POST complaint filed
Part 6 – Body Camera Shows Officer Lied to Motorist About Radar Accuracy Check
Part 7 – Fmr Brooklet Officers Under Investigation with POST, Records Indicate Investigations in Past
Part 8 – Brooklet Says Official Documents are in Possession of Meyer, Not City
Part 9 – Brooklet Councilman Breaks Silence on Police Department, City Hall Issues
Part 10 – Column: My Goal in Publishing the Chaos in Brooklet
Part 11 – 2 More Brooklet Officers Suspended Indefinitely Without Pay
Part 12 – VIDEO: Brooklet Council Retroactively Reprimands Mundy, Will Seek Second Opinion on All Outside Investigations
Part 13: Complaint: PD Administration, City Council Failed to Investigation Sexual Assault Allegations
Part 14: Brooklet Council Allows Suspended Officers to Resign, Reverses Reprimand of Mundy
Part 15: Previously Suspended Brooklet Police Officers Get Back Pay, Promise of ‘Neutral Recommendations’
Part 16: New Hire at Brooklet PD Questions City’s Due Diligence on Employment History
Part 17: Lawsuit Filed Against City of Brooklet, Former Brooklet PD Officers, 3 John Does