Sheriff dismissed from suit

Published 12:01 am Friday, October 18, 2019

NATCHEZ — Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten has been dismissed from a lawsuit filed by Triand McCoy against Patten, Stephen Guido, Mississippi Drilling Inc. and John Does.

The court order dated Oct. 10, 2019, and signed by David Bramlette, United States Southern District Court judge, states that Patten has been dismissed in his individual capacity without prejudice.

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The federal lawsuit was filed in July after a February incident in which Adams County Sheriff’s Office Reserve Deputy Stephen Guido, driving an SUV owned by Mississippi Drilling Inc. of which Guido is the president, parked his vehicle diagonally in front of McCoy’s vehicle as McCoy sat in it on Broadway street, prohibiting McCoy from driving forward.

“Guido had instructed another deputy to pull behind Mr. McCoy so that he would be trapped,” the lawsuit states. “Guido, dressed in body armor with “SHERIFF” emblazoned across the chest and armed with a Bushmaster AR15-style assault rifle, a .45 caliber handgun and an X26 model TASER, then jumped out of the SUV and aimed the assault rifle at Mr. McCoy, as seen in the screenshot from Adams County Sheriff’s Deputy Ricco Carter’s body camera footage of the assault,” the lawsuit states.

McCoy said the incident caused emotional distress and seeks repayment for damages.

Patten said he was unaware of Guido’s actions, does not condone such conduct and had revoked Guido’s reserve deputy status after learning of the incident. Guido, however, was retained as a helicopter pilot without any reserve officer’s duties, Patten said.

Upon learning he had been individually dismissed from the lawsuit, Patten said he was relieved.

“Our relationship that we have with the community is one of the most important resources we have when it comes to combating crime,” Patten said. “The way we establish and maintain that relationship has a lot to do with how we treat the public.”

Scott Slover, Adams County Board of Supervisors attorney, said even though Patten has been individually dismissed, he still believes the Adams County Sheriff’s Office and Adams County will be defendants in the lawsuit.

“It doesn’t mean that the actual lawsuit is dismissed altogether,” Slover said. “They had sued the sheriff individually and that lawsuit, that aspect of the suit is being dismissed. The sheriff’s office and more relatedly the county as a whole is still involved in litigation.”

Slover said the county is prepared for the lawsuit.

“Obviously, the county has indemnification for these such of things but as far as the liability of the county, that is still before the court,” Slover said. “Nothing that any citizen would panic over though. … We carry adequate sureties for all of that so it wouldn’t be any material weakness for us financially.”

Patten said he strives to be transparent in running the sheriff’s office.

“It does feel good to have my name cleared after the smear campaign that was run on my name,” Patten said. “I would never condone the mistreatment of anyone. I hope that the parties who remain a part of the lawsuit, come to a peaceful resolution so that the community can heal and move forward.”

Patten said he does not want the sheriff’s office to be in conflict with the community.

“ACSO is the heartbeat of this community,” Patten said. “I will continue to push the staff and the community to be a model of how well a community can thrive when we are on one accord with the people that we have committed ourselves to serving. My prayer is that the community feels the same way and continues to push forward that goal a reality.”