Jury to hear civil suit against city of Talladega
TALLADEGA — A Talladega County jury of 10 women and three men was selected Thursday to try a civil suit for wrongful arrest and detention, assault and battery and emotional distress against the city of Talladega brought by Shermon Scales.

Scales was working at KFC on the afternoon of April 19, 2009. At the same time, Talladega police officer Alan Wheeles stopped James Pointer for a routine traffic violation. Pointer initially gave a false name and said he could not produce any identification. According to testimony Thursday, he told someone on a cell phone that he was right around the corner and drove off.

Wheeles said he pursued him and called for backup. He said he chased Pointer through Central Alabama Community College before Pointer bailed out of the still moving car. Pointer eventually became entangled in some brambles in a ditch, but refused to show his hands as ordered. Wheeles hit him twice on the leg with a baton, and he became compliant. He was eventually charged for felony marijuana possession.

As he was being led out of the ditch, Scales and a small crowd of other people had come to see the commotion. Scales appeared to be taking pictures with his cell phone and yelling to Pointer, “I’ve got your back.”

Wheeles asked to see the phone. Scales refused, and then further refused to give his full name. Wheeles arrested him for hindering a governmental operation.

He was tried for that charge in Talladega Municipal Court and was acquitted.

Scales believes that most of the pictures he took of what his attorney Steve Adcock characterized as the “beating” of Pointer were deleted at some point. There were two pictures still on the camera.

Talladega Police Chief Alan Watson contacted Scales at his job and by letter, asking him to let him send the camera to the state forensics lab to see if any images had been deleted, and if so, when they had been deleted and what they had shown. Scales refused, but did show him pictures that Watson testified portrayed a standard police procedure for an uncooperative suspect. The two pictures still on the camera Thursday were not the same two pictures he saw that day, Watson said.

Adcock tried to make the argument that Watson was engaged in a cover-up because Scales’ allegations were not investigated more aggressively. Watson pointed out that Pointer himself had never filed a complaint about being treated badly, which would have triggered a more thorough investigation.

Testimony is expected to continue today. Scales has not asked for a specific monetary amount.

Contact David Atchison at datchison@dailyhome.com.

© 2012