City asks court to immediately dismiss lawsuit over jail inmate beating death

Local News

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – A week after Sheriff Donna Tompkins and three members of her command staff were sued by the family of an inmate beaten to death in the Muscogee County Jail, the city has asked a federal judge to immediately dismiss the case.

In motions filed Tuesday, in U.S. District Court, Middle District of Georgia, attorneys representing the city said that there were not enough facts in the suit filed on behalf of Eddie Nelson, Jr.’s family. In addition to asking for the case to be dismissed, the city has also asked that discovery in this case be halted.

Nelson, Jr. was beaten to death on Sept. 5, allegedly by fellow inmate Jayvon Hatchett, in custody for an allegedly racially motivated stabbing at a local AutoZone on Aug. 25.

Police say Hatchett, who officials say later beat Nelson, Jr. to death, stabbed an AutoZone employee because he “felt the need to find a white male to kill.” The motivation for the stabbing came out during his court hearing.

The Nelson family lawyer, Craig Jones, of Washington, Ga. claimed in the suit that the two men should have never been in the same jail cell together. The lawsuit was filed three days after Nelson was beat to death.

Tompkins and Chief Deputy Troy Culpepper, Commander Larry Mitchell, and Capt. Glenda Hall, are all named as defendants in the suit.

“Mr. Jones has arbitrarily chosen to sue four individuals that are the highest ranking apparently Sheriff’s Office officials,” said Jim Clark, who is representing the city. “But he sued them in their individual capacity, without any basis.”

Jones says he will file a motion Wednesday, Sept. 16, to counter the city’s request for dismissal.

“What they are saying is that we did not state enough facts to be able to get past a motion to dismiss. They have also filed a motion to keep us from getting the facts. So, I mean it’s basically dirty pool,” said Jones.

The case is in front of U.S. District Judge Clay Land.

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