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Handful of claims remain in lawsuit against Sullivan County, sheriff

October 26th, 2013 8:01 pm by Matthew Lane

Handful of claims remain in lawsuit against Sullivan County, sheriff

In this April 2011 photo, a member of the Sullivan County Volunteer Fire Department walks past the mobile home that was destroyed following a standoff with law enforcement officials. Photo by Erica Yoon.

GREENEVILLE — A federal judge has dismissed a majority of the claims made in a lawsuit filed by two Sullivan County women whose trailer was destroyed following a standoff with law enforcement officials in April 2011.

The $1.5 million lawsuit was filed by Margaret Spradlin and her daughter, Shirley Brewer, in U.S. District Court in Greeneville in April 2012. Defendants include Sheriff Wayne Anderson, 14 of his deputies, Sullivan County and the sheriff’s department.

The lawsuit stems from an incident that took place at their trailer on April 27, 2011, when law enforcement officials converged on their home looking for Junior Spradlin — Margaret Spradlin’s son — who was wanted for murder in Virginia.

During the ensuing standoff, Sullivan County deputies threw 15 cans of tear gas into the trailer in an attempt to flush Junior Spradlin out. However, the tear gas caused the trailer to catch fire and burn. Soon after, law enforcement realized Junior Spradlin was not in the trailer.

Spradlin and Brewer claim the actions taken by the defendants violated their constitutional rights of due process, freedom from an unreasonable search and seizure, and illegal arrest. The two women further claim false arrest, false imprisonment, destruction of property and outrageous conduct.

Read more in Sunday's print edition of the Times-News or in the expanded electronic edition.

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