Lawrence County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Caperton, left, and investigator Zach Ferguson, are on leave following their indictment on federal civil rights charges. (Photo: Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page)
Two Lawrence County officers who have been indicted on five counts of federal civil rights and obstruction charges are asking for a continuance in their case, which came after the two allegedly slammed a 61-year-old man to the ground during an October 2020 traffic stop.
Sheriff’s Investigator Zach Ferguson and Deputy Eric Caperton are scheduled to go to trial Oct. 10 after being indicted on one count for allegedly pulling the victim from his van and throwing him to the ground, causing the man’s head to strike the pavement. Two counts allege the two officers lied while filing their use of force reports after the incident, claiming the victim was on his knees when they removed him from his van and failing to disclose that they threw him on the ground and struck him multiple times in the head.
The final two counts allege the officers lied to criminal investigators when they said the victim’s upper body never touched the ground during the arrest and that he sustained injuries from their punches while still in his van.
If convicted, Ferguson and Caperton face a maximum of ten years in prison for the excessive force charge and up to 20 years for the obstruction charges. They face up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
Caperton and Ferguson’s waiver of the right to a speedy trial is the latest move in an almost three-year long case.
The FBI began its investigation of the pair in 2021. Nashville NewsChannel 5 obtained court filings claiming the officers texted photos of the victim’s injuries to former Assistant District Attorney for the 22nd Judicial District, Emily Crafton. In April of 2022, the Pulaski Citizen reported that Crafton was fired but pleaded not guilty to charges of official misconduct.
The two Lawrence County officers were on unpaid leave at that time.Lawrence County cops
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