Attorney for 3 suing law enforcement in Seneca, Oconee Co. claim - FOX Carolina 21

Attorney for 3 suing law enforcement in Seneca, Oconee Co. claims officers improperly trained

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Left to right: Douglas Hedden, Keith Denny, Justin Roach, Angie Roach (Aug. 9, 2017/FOX Carolina) Left to right: Douglas Hedden, Keith Denny, Justin Roach, Angie Roach (Aug. 9, 2017/FOX Carolina)
Tori Morton (Aug. 9, 2017/FOX Carolina) Tori Morton (Aug. 9, 2017/FOX Carolina)
SENECA, SC (FOX Carolina) -

An attorney representing three people filing federal lawsuits against Upstate law enforcement agencies said changes need to be made in Oconee County.

Attorney Keith Denny is legal counsel to Tori Morton, Douglas Hedden and Justin Roach. Morton and Roach are both filing lawsuits against the Seneca Police Department claiming they were treated inappropriately.

Morton, a passenger in a car with Zachary Hammond, was present when Hammond was shot to death by former Seneca officer Mark Tiller. She said since the shooting, she has faced harassment from the department and lives in constant fear.

A law firm representing Tiller said he plans to file an answer denying liability and damages.

READ MORE: Lawsuit: Passenger in Zachary Hammond's car claims intimidation by Seneca police

Roach has filed a lawsuit against the Seneca Police Department for unlawful arrest. In a press conference on Wednesday, Denny said Roach has cerebral palsy and claims Seneca police knew he was not involved in any drug operations before his arrest on April 25.

Denny said Roach was strip-searched after an invalid warrant indicating Roach was caught on video conducting a transaction. Denny said the individual in the video, which hasn't been turned over to the family, was not Roach.

"They knew for over a year he hadn't done it," Denny said. "He is not to blame."

Denny said his client suffers from seizures, panic attacks and other problems.

The Seneca Police Department said it is policy not to comment on pending litigation.

Hedden, who was arrested after a domestic violence incident in March 2016, has filed a lawsuit against the Oconee County Sheriff's Office. The lawsuit indicates Hedden was strip-searched and charged with domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature. In May 2016, the case against Hedden was dismissed.

Hedden said he was the victim in the case.

Denny said video of Hedden's arrest was excluded from footage released to them.

"These two cases highlight and indicate that there's improper training, improper supervision," Denny said. "Officers are not being training on how to effective do jobs and they're acting improperly when they're engaging suspects."

Sheriff Mike Crenshaw said he has not been served with the lawsuit, but said there was probable cause to arrest Hedden.

According to an incident report released by the sheriff's office, when deputies arrived at Hedden's home, a woman said she had been struck by him. Deputies said the victim had several bruises on her neck, chest and arms along with torn clothing.

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