News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news
SUNDAY, MAY 28, 2006

Deputy’s shooting of Florence man brings lawsuit

HUNTSVILLE (AP) — A lawsuit accuses a Lauderdale County sheriff's deputy of using excessive force a year ago in the shooting death of a Florence man described as having a psychotic episode.

Deputy Jimmie Ray Slaton Jr. fatally shot Bryan L. Long, who was trying to flee in the deputy's car. Slaton fired three times with his 9 mm pistol. A bullet struck the 46-year-old Long in the chest, according to investigators.

Slaton said he feared Long was going to run over him or Long's father, according to reports completed by deputies and agents with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation.

Slaton had responded to a call from Dr. Robert L. Long, a Florence physician, about his son.

The father filed suit Thursday in federal court, seeking unspecified damages from Slaton and Sheriff Ronnie Willis.

"We brought this action against the deputy because he used excessive force," attorney Allen Brinkley of Huntsville said. "The sheriff is named for not providing proper and adequate training in regard to the use of deadly force."

Slaton was cleared of any wrongdoing by a Lauderdale County grand jury in September. He could not be reached for comment Friday.

Willis declined to comment, referring questions to the county's attorney, Chris Smith. Smith said he had not seen a copy of the suit and also could not comment.

The suit states that Bryan Long was unarmed and that Slaton had been to the residence before and never had any major problems with Long.

At the time he was shot, Bryan Long was moving away from the deputy, according to the suit. Additional law enforcement was already on its way to the scene, according to the suit.

"In the investigation report we read, the deputy himself admitted the car was in reverse when he finally got up to (Long)," Brinkley said.

"The deputy himself put the car in park when it was all over."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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