Humphreys Co. Sheriff's Dept. settles civil rights lawsuit - WSMV Channel 4

Humphreys Co. Sheriff's Dept. settles civil rights lawsuit

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Dashcam video shows Darren Ring being beaten January 2011 by deputies. Dashcam video shows Darren Ring being beaten January 2011 by deputies.
WAVERLY, TN (WSMV) -

The Humphreys County Sheriff's Department settled a federal case involving the beating and Tasering of an unarmed man in January 2011.

The U.S. Department of Justice had criminally indicted the department earlier this year for violating the civil rights of Darrin Ring in a story first uncovered by the Channel 4 I-Team.

Ring was reportedly beaten and Tasered for 19 minutes. He was then taken to jail where witnesses say he was beaten and Tasered again.

Humphreys County, the sheriff's department, the sheriff and three deputies have agreed to pay Ring $350,000.

Tim Hedge, 50, and Benji Lee, 32, faced a sentence of up to 10 years in prison if they were convicted in the case.

Most of the beating and Tasering reportedly came after Ring was handcuffed by the deputies, and his injuries included broken ribs and a punctured lung.

A settlement in a federal case does not admit fault, but when the county agreed to pay Darrin Ring $350,000, it certainly said something.

"We have a set of checks and balances to avoid an abuse of power. They are there to help us, and that's a good thing," said attorney David Raybin.

The man who brought the video to the open, public defender Jake Lockert, said this settlement does everything but put into writing that what happened to Ring was criminal.

"It is a clear admission that the county knows that their officers did wrong. It's a large amount, and there was a terrible wrong done to Darrin Ring," Lockert said.

Ring's attorney said his client will not comment on his beating until after the criminal case is complete. But now that the civil case isn't lingering, Lockert said it is time for changes in Humphreys County.

"It absolutely is an opportunity for a new start and fresh ideas without this lawsuit hanging over their heads," Lockert said.

Part of the federal lawsuit remains unsettled. The case against Waverly police officer Joe Parnell, who allegedly Tasered the handcuffed Ring, has not been settled. And negotiations continue with the city of Waverly.

Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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