Mississippi Sheriff Byrd Facing Fifth Lawsuit In Two Years Alleging Consitutional Rights Violations

Mississippi man Ronald Tuskan has filed the 5th lawsuit in two years against Jackson County, Mississippi Sheriff Mike Byrd.

Tuskan’s lawsuit, similar to others filed against Byrd, alleges that the Sheriff and his office engaged in a violation of civil rights, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, and defamation.

The lawsuit stems from the Jackson County Sheriff Department’s March 2011 investigation of Tuskan for possession of child pornography.

Deputies came to Tuskan’s place of work and detained him, telling his supervisors that he was being investigated for child pornography possession. Tuskan allowed deputies to search his entire computer for any traces of child pornography. Nothing was found. The investigation closes, and Tuskan was cleared of any charges.

Tuskan’s lawsuit, which is seeking $20 million, says that deputies "were either directed or allowed by Sheriff Mike Byrd to harass, detain and/or arrest (Tuskan) without repercussion and without probable cause to do so," and that deputies "knew or should have known that there was no evidence or factual basis with which to investigate or charge (Tuskan) with any criminal conduct."

The lawsuit also claims that Byrd’s office "created and maintained a culture, pattern and practice of going after his perceived enemies, conducting improper investigations, violating citizens' constitutional rights, both state and federal, which created policies, practices and procedures that led to the violation" of Tuskan's rights.

Other lawsuits indicate that Tuskan is far from the first person to feel that his constitutional rights have been violated by Byrd.

Mississippi man James Hagan filed a lawsuit in June against Byrd alleging improper search and seizure, witness tampering, perjury, false arrest, malicious persecution, abuse of process, defamation and gross negligence, among others.

In 2012, heart surgeon Dr. David Bruce Allen filed a $551 million lawsuit against Byrd over the year he spent in jail for marijuana growing charges that were later dropped. The charges and jails time caused Dr. Allen’s once flourishing medical practice to close.

Three other Mississippi residents have filed suits against Byrd for reasons including defamation, unconstitutional searches, and civil rights violations.

Two weeks ago, Byrd was indicted on by a Jackson County court on 31 counts, including charges accusing him of pushing for an arrest in a case even though a detective claimed the arrestee was innocent. 

Sources: Sun Herald, Gulf Live


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