Multiple lawyers prepare to defend Columbus police officers in Arreola civil suit

Local News

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Four attorneys will represent the three Columbus police officers named in a civil lawsuit brought by the family of Hector Arreola, who died in police custody.

The family alleges the three officers used excessive force while arresting Arreola, leading to his death. The jury trial is set for June 7 in the Jan. 9, 2017 death.

Among those attorneys representing the officers is Susan L. Henderson, Mayor Skip Henderson’s sister. The family has expressed concerned about her representing the officers.

“To know that the mayor’s sister is defending one of these police officers I would think would be a conflict of interest,” said Patricia Arreola, Hector Arreola’s sister. “Like why and how is this happening and how can you allow that to happen?”

News 3 reached out to the State Bar of Georgia to see if this would in fact qualify as a conflict of interest. We have not yet received a comment.

The family’s attorney, Mark Post, said he is ready to get to trial.

“I obviously don’t have control over who the City picks as the lawyers for these officers,” Post said, “but we’re eager to get to a jury trial and get this story the attention it deserves.

In a statement to WRBL News 3, Defense attorney James C. Clark, Jr. says despite all three officers having different lawyers he expects a “united defense”.

“Since the case is moving to trial in June we felt it would be best that each officer had independent representation. There is no conflict between the three officers and we anticipate a very unified defense to this case which while tragic is not the fault of any of these officers.”

In addition to this statement Clark, Jr. adds

“Officer Dudley selected Susan Henderson as his council.”

The attorneys representing the officers listed on the court documents are: James C. Clark, Jr., Alan G. Snipes, Tyler C. Cashbaugh all three of Page, Scrantom, Sprouse, Tucker & Ford, P.C, Susan L. Henderson of Law Office of Susan L. Henderson, and Neal J. Callahan of Waldrep, Mullin & Callahan, LLC.

However, James C. Clark, Jr. clarified there will only be four attorneys representing the three officers: James C. Clark, Jr. and his partner, in addition to Susan L. Henderson and Neal J. Callahan.

News 3 has reached out to Susan L. Henderson who has not responded for comment and Neal J. Callahan who declined to comment.

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