After half a decade spent in the judicial system, a Blount County Sheriff’s deputy has been found not guilty of charges alleged by the widow of a 67-year-old man who sat bloody in the emergency room several hours after his arrest.
A U.S. Eastern District jury unanimously decided the verdict for the $6.25 million lawsuit against deputy Henry Vaughn who plaintiffs claimed used excessive force against the elderly man, who died six months later.
On June 10, 2015, Larry Hodge was pulled over by Vaughn, reporting from The Daily Times states. The lawsuit alleged that Vaughn held Hodge at gunpoint, assaulted and then aggressively arrested him.
The jury found that Vaughn acted under the “color of law,” had not used excessive force, had not committed battery, had not inflicted emotional distress and is not liable for a loss of consortium.
Consortium is a familial relationship, referring to his marriage.
Judy R. Hodge, widow of Larry Hodge, filed the lawsuit on behalf of her deceased husband on June 10, 2016, the one-year anniversary of the incident and also the statute of limitations for filing suit on the matter.
Larry Hodge died after his physical and mental condition allegedly worsened following his arrest, reporting from The Daily Times states.
It added that six months earlier, Hodge had collided with the side mirror of another vehicle and kept driving along a narrow section of Russell Hollow Road. His son told deputies at the time that he shouldn’t have been driving due to his medical condition.
Almost an hour later, Vaughn, who already had been removed from patrol duty and was a property and evidence technician, pulled Hodge over, then allegedly pointed his gun toward Hodge and demanded he exit the vehicle.
Although Vaughn was in an unmarked vehicle, he identified himself as law enforcement and was wearing a Class B uniform — cargo pants and a polo shirt with the BCSO logo, reporting stated.
When Hodge was slow to react, Vaughn allegedly pulled him out of the vehicle, face first onto the ground, and cuffed his hands behind his back.
The Daily Times reporting from 2019 states that Vaughn had been employed by BCSO since 1998 and is still an employee.
He was pulled from patrol duty in 2005 after he was convicted of assaulting a female neighbor while off duty.