Civil lawsuit trial begins for former Richland Co. Deputy and Sheriff

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Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 7:33 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A former Richland County Sheriff’s deputy and the county’s top law enforcer are being sued in federal court after the former deputy tasered a woman in bed.

Shelia Webb is suing former Deputy Cameron Duecker and Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott over the Feb. 2019 incident. The trial began on Monday.

Webb’s lawsuit alleges Duecker assaulted her, and Lott (in his official capacity as sheriff) was negligent in hiring and retaining Duecker.

The first day of the trial focused primarily on the three legal teams dissecting Duecker’s body camera footage and cross-examining him.

The common set of circumstances among all three was Duecker’s response to Webb’s home on Feb. 1, 2019, on a report of Webb’s brother stealing a vehicle.

Duecker arrived, and testimony on Monday showed the car was on the scene.

The arguments on the legality of what transpired afterward differed, but the body camera footage shows Duecker appearing to determine the use of the car was a civil issue between Webb and her brother.

As Duecker talks to Webb and her brother, the conversation escalates from Duecker warning Webb about misusing 911 to him attempting to detain and then ultimately arrest Webb.

Webb resisted the detainment and then subsequent arrest attempts, retreating into her room, going into her bed, pulling away from him, and allegedly scratching him. Duecker continued to attempt to gain compliance through commands and his hands to handcuff Webb.

It is legal to resist an unlawful arrest in South Carolina. The jury came to no conclusions on the legality of Duecker’s actions Monday.

The video shows Duecker escalated to using his taser several times, including when she had already fallen to the ground off the bed.

Webb’s attorneys, Luke Shealey and Chris Truluck argued Duecker’s actions were excessive and he displayed errors in judgment. However, her attorneys also argued that Duecker did not intend to harm Webb, attempting to head off the arguments by Lott’s attorneys.

Lott’s attorney Steven Spreeuwers argued Duecker acted outside of his training and that he felt “challenged” by Webb. The argument is Duecker acted maliciously toward Webb and the liability for the incident should fall solely on him.

Lott did announce the arrest of Duecker for the incident the same month, but Richland County court records show no criminal cases for Duecker.

RELATED STORY: Former Richland County Deputy arrested for 3rd-degree assault and battery

Duecker’s attorney Scott Hayes worked to inform the jury about Duecker as a person and then broke down Duecker’s legal reasoning and training leading up to the tasering.

The trial will continue on Tuesday morning.

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