Thursday, September 28, 2000

Suit against Newport, policeman dismissed

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — U.S. District Judge William O. Bertelsman has ruled in favor of the city of Newport and Police Sgt. Coy Cox, dismissing alawsuit filed against them by a Newport man who claimed civil rights violations because of the way police allegedly treated him in February 1998.

        Elmer Ray Turner had been acquitted of felony DUI charges when he filed the federal suit in October. It claimed that Sgt. Cox harassed and intimidated him because he had questioned why police shot his dog and that Sgt. Cox unfairly caused Mr. Turner to be arrested on a felony DUI charge.

        Judge Bertelsman threw out the suit after Mr. Turner didn't respond to the city's motion to dismiss it. Mr. Turner cannot refile the action, the judge said.

        Sgt. Cox charged Mr. Turner with driving under the influence — his fourth such arrest — on Feb. 25, 1998. That was five days after Mr. Turner was cited by another officer with alcohol intoxication because of a disturbance at the White Castle restaurant at Fifth and York streets. The day after the incident, Mr. Turner's dog was shot and killed.

        A Campbell County Circuit Court jury acquitted Mr. Turner on Jan. 26, 1999. The trial was punctuated with allegations that Sgt. Cox was out to get Mr. Turner and by testimony related to Mr. Turner's dog.

        Several jurors said that their decision to acquit Mr. Turner rested heavily on their belief that Sgt. Cox was out to get the defendant. Sgt. Cox vehemently denied that contention at Mr. Turner's trial, although testimony indicated that Sgt. Cox had approached Mr. Turner at a bar Feb. 21 and warned him that he would be arrested if he didn't stop making calls about his lost pet.


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