A man is suing the Garner Police Department for allegedly serving him a counterfeit search and arrest warrant, which he claims officers used to search his home.
One of the officers who is alleged to have performed the illegal search was fired last March for violating department policies related to job performance and personal conduct. The town and the department had declined to release the specifics of why Officer Guy White was fired.
Before White was fired however, he was put on desk duty for several weeks. Police Chief Brandon Zuidema sent an email to a town official saying he didn’t feel comfortable putting White back on patrol after he got off desk duty, based on the nature of the allegations against him.
But interim town manager Rodney Dickerson said Friday the lawsuit’s current allegations were not part of the decision to terminate White.
The lawsuit makes a claim about an incident that happened in the summer of 2014. White’s termination letter indicates the reason for his firing was an incident that happened on Feb. 11, 2015.
Thomas Stout Jr. is suing the Garner Police Department, former Garner police officer Guy White and Officer Preston Charles for violating his Fourth Amendment rights.
Stout filed his claims from jail, where he is awaiting trial for felony larceny and breaking and entering.
He also filed separate lawsuits against another officer, which was found frivolous, the Wake County district attorney who prosecuted his case and the public defender who defended him for different reasons.
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause.
The lawsuit claims “the defendants knowingly used false information to obtain a warrant to search his residence as well as an arrest warrant.”
The alleged incident described in the lawsuit took place after a string of car burglaries in a Lowes Home Improvement parking lot in July and August of 2014. An employee who was in the parking lot at the time, claimed to have seen the burglary on July 31 and identfied Stout from a list of pictures as the perpetrator.
There was a second larceny in August, at Lowes Home Improvement, but the lawsuit states there were no witnesses.
The handwritten lawsuit names multiple officers and it is unclear, which officer he claims did what. But he claims three different officers provided false information to get a search warrant for probable cause to search his home.
Stout is seeking financial relief from the incident and loss of a job.
Stout has a history of arrests, from larceny to drug charges, in which he was found guilty, and sex offense crimes with a child, in which he was found “not guilty.”
“Obviously we don’t feel like we did anything,” Dickerson said of the lawsuit. “We take them all seriously.”
Dickerson said the town’s insurance company is currently reviewing the matter. The insurance company will find out more details and later will decide whether to hire an attorney, he said.
“Right now it’s in the hands of the insurance company,” Dickerson said.