A plaintiff in a lawsuit against the city of Roanoke Rapids has terminated the attorney representing him in the federal civil case.
The attorney for Daniel W. Jenkins, an officer with the city’s police department, filed the notice of mandatory withdrawal of counsel Monday, according to documents filed in the online federal system.
The attorney, Anthony Cuticchia Jr., enclosed an email he received from Jenkins which says, “I would like to terminate our legal relationship and attorney-client contract. This termination is effective immediately.”
The email indicates Jenkins plans to continue pursuing the matter as he ends it by saying, “I appreciate the services provided by you but find it necessary to seek other counsel to deal with this matter.”
The email to the attorney was sent Monday.
Meanwhile, as of this morning, a second motion was submitted to Chief United States District Judge Richard E. Myers II regarding a motion filed on behalf of Jenkins to dismiss former Roanoke Rapids police Chief Chuck Hasty in his official capacity.
Hasty, along with District Attorney Valerie Asbell, have already been dismissed as defendants in their individual capacity.
The notice on dismissing Hasty in his official capacity was filed earlier this month and said, “Official capacity suits are tantamount to a claim against the government entity and should be dismissed as duplicative when the entity remains as a defendant.”
The notice also said, “As the government entity is a party to the suit, defendant Hasty in his official capacity should be dismissed as a defendant with prejudice.”
Cuticchia said in the document he has consulted with counsel for the city and the city has indicated it takes no position on the matter. Hasty consents, the notice says, and has also requested that his name be removed from the header of the case.
The notice then asks Chief District Court Judge Richard E. Myers Jr. to grant the voluntary dismissal with prejudice.
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.