An attorney representing former Brooklet police chief Doug Meyer and officer John Baker requested five lawsuits against his clients and the city of Brooklet be moved to federal court.
A document was filed with the Bulloch County Clerk’s Office Dec. 12 by Richard Strickland, attorney with Brown, Reddick, Bumgartner, Carter, Strickland & Watkins, LLP out of Brunswick, to move the lawsuits from state court to the United States District Court – Southern District of Georgia, Statesboro division.
In response to a records request, Bulloch County Clerk of Courts Heather McNeal provided the Statesboro Herald with documents regarding the filing.
Strickland represents Baker, Meyer and three others referred to as “John Does,” persons who may also have been involved in alleged actions leading to lawsuits by the following: Angella Anderson, Cindy Boddiford Lee, Richard Donaldson, Austin Donaldson and Bryan Price.
All five filed suit earlier this year against the defendants, as well as the city of Brooklet, which is represented by city attorney Hugh Hunter as well as Savannah attorneys Patrick O’Connor and Jacob Massee, according to Brooklet City Administrator Angela Wirth.
Atlanta attorney Jordan Alex Johnson is representing all five plaintiffs.
The lawsuits stem from allegedly improper behavior by Meyer, Baker and other Brooklet police officers including sexual battery accusations, theft, racketeering and harassment.
Documents provided on all five lawsuits included one with the plaintiff’s name redacted. This suit alleges Baker sexually assaulted the plaintiff, who was in the hospital following a “temporary mental health issue which involved the discharge of a firearm and alcohol,” the document read.
In this suit, Baker is accused of touching the plaintiff inappropriately after taking a blood sample from the plaintiff at the hospital. It also includes allegations that he and others removed cameras and memory cards from private property, which had been set up to record alleged harassment by police after the alleged sexual assault.
Other allegations by the plaintiffs include threatening and violent behavior during traffic stops, encounters with police at the Brooklet City Hall and during the 2017 Peanut Festival parade.
A date has not yet been set for the federal hearings.
Strickland declined to comment on the move to federal court. Wirth said Brooklet council members have been instructed by attorneys not to comment on the department or the lawsuits.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.