Former Roanoke Rapids police Chief Chuck Hasty is no longer being sued as an individual in a lawsuit lodged against him, the city and its police department.
He remains a defendant in his former official capacity as the city’s top police administrator.
On Thursday the attorney representing Daniel W. Jenkins, a current officer in the Roanoke Rapids Police Department, filed a voluntary dismissal with prejudice against Hasty in his individual capacity.
Like a notice filed last week in the federal court of the Eastern District of North Carolina voluntarily dismissing with prejudice the complaint against District Attorney Valerie Asbell, the dismissal against Hasty in his individual capacity was filed under Rule 41 of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
It is a common move in federal civil lawsuits, according to the American Bar Association, and is typically based on a decision which protects a jurisdictional choice, effects a settlement or is filed because discovery never bore out the claim.
Now the three sole defendants in the case are the city, the police department and Hasty in his former role of chief. The move puts the onus on the city for defending him and paying his attorney.
Hasty, now the police chief in Enfield, said Thursday he couldn’t comment because there is still pending litigation against him.
Previous court documents filed in the federal case have confirmed a settlement is being worked on and last month an extension for responses was granted. “The undersigned counsel and plaintiff’s counsel have been working together diligently to resolve all claims in this matter and are very close to finalizing a settlement agreement,” the consent motion filed in the United States Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina said. “Upon information and belief due to the intervening holidays final approval of the settlement terms and execution of the necessary documents will not be completed before (Christmas).”
The deadline for responses is January 25.
Jenkins is asking for damages of $250,000 and any other relief the court deems proper either individually, jointly or in the alternative together with interest, cost of the lawsuit and reasonable attorney fees.
Jenkins claims the action is to recover damages against the defendants for civil conspiracy; intentional infliction of emotional distress; negligent infliction of emotional distress; and the violation of the right of procedural due process of the United States Constitution.
The center of the lawsuit goes back to July 28 of 2018 when Jenkins was employed as a canine handler with the Roanoke Rapids Police Department and was called to the scene where a person was stopped for a tail light violation. The driver had a pistol which was within his immediate reach.
Jenkins was called to the scene when the driver asked for a supervisor and, according to the lawsuit, both he and the responding officer who made the traffic stop, after several times of demanding the person exit the vehicle, attempted to remove the individual.
The lawsuit claims after several attempts by the officers a decision was made to deploy the dog, which bit the driver’s ear causing minor injury.
The lawsuit says the next day former Roanoke Rapids Police Chief Chuck Hasty had an officer review the matter for excessive use of force. That officer’s opinion was that Jenkins’ actions showed no wrongdoing.
The lawsuit claims Hasty chose to ignore the finding and complete a second review.