Price may jump in suit against city, police

Published 9:38 pm Monday, March 23, 2009

A lawsuit seeking damages against the city of Troy and a police officer could be affected by a recent court ruling.

Martin Scott Flowers sued the city of Troy and Troy Police Capt. Vance Ventress for a combined $225,000 in September 2008, claiming false imprisonment and malicious prosecution stemming from a 2005 incident.

Earlier this month, Flowers was found not guilty of a reckless endangerment charge from an incident that occurred around the same time, and his attorney indicated Flowers will likely seek additional damages in the suit, which is still unresolved.

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The case stems from a series of incidents in 2005 in which Ventress arrested Flowers on charges of criminal trespass in the third degree and reckless endangerment. Flowers originally was convicted of the criminal trespass charge, but he was found not guilty on appeal and then filed lawsuit.

The reckless endangerment charge stemmed from an incident where Flowers was reported to have shined a police flashlight into the vehicle of a 15-year-old boy, whom Flowers said vandalized his yard, causing the boy to “become temporarily blinded” and at “substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person.”

A Pike County jury found Flowers not guilty of these charges.

“I think there’s going to be some facts that came out in the trial of this case that’s going to point the finger at whose responsible,” said Bill Hollingsworth Sr., Flowers’ attorney. “I think it’s vindictive. They should be trying to protect their city and not trying to involve them in petty bickering.

“You meet cars everyday that have headlights 10 times brighter than a flashlight. It’s obvious they were acting in a vindictive manner. Because of that, I think he’s entitled to assert his legal right not to be put upon by the city of Troy.”

Now, Hollingsworth said Flowers will seek more money.

“I’m sure we’re going to file another complaint and allege generally the same thing,” Hollingsworth said.

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said he could not comment on pending litigations, and the attorney to defend the city has not been chosen.

But in a previous article, Lunsford told The Messenger the city would fight the charges in court.

“We will rigorously defend it as we do all frivolous lawsuits,” Lunsford said.

No trial date has been set, but Flowers requested a jury trial in December 2008.