City of Statham sued over DUI arrests by former police officer - CBS46 News

City of Statham sued over DUI arrests by former police officer

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STATHAM, GA (CBS46) -

Almost two years ago to the day, Kelly Pickens was pulled over by Statham Police and charged with a crime. Former Officer Marc Lofton arrested Pickens for DUI, claiming she was impaired after taking anti-depressant medication prescribed by her doctor.

(MORE: Police officer under fire after dozens claim they were falsely arrested for DUI)

“We’ve always asserted that this was a situation of policing for profit. If you look at the city’s budget for the year that Marc Lofton was employed, their anticipated revenue tripled in that year. They expected to go from $75,000 to $250,000. This was a deliberate act. It was not a mistake. These were criminal acts on all of their parts. They’re all responsible,” Pickens said. 

Pickens case was later dismissed and now she’s taking legal action against Lofton and the city of Statham.

“There was a policy of turning a blind eye to arrests that were clearly made without probable cause,” Attorney Zack Greenamyre said. 

The 26-page federal lawsuit filed by Greenamyer also names Statham Police Chief Allan Johnston and points out that the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia found that Lofton made "significant errors in several of his DUI-Drug investigations."

(MORE: Read the entire lawsuit) 

So CBS46 went to city hall in Statham and questioned the clerk. We were told the mayor and police chief were out of the office.

“It’s disappointing that the city and the chief of police have had notice of this for so long and they have refused to do anything,” Greenamyre said. 

Lofton left the Statham Police Department in June and was briefly hired by the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office before being terminated.

“I have had 30 years to build a reputation of honesty and integrity. Hiring of this employee tarnished that reputation,” Lumpkin County Sheriff Stacy Jarrard said. 

“It’s unfortunate that we had to go that far. All the city had to do was take responsibility and take disciplinary action against him. That’s what we asked for, that’s what we expected and they refused. So at this point they’re going to be held accountable one way or the other, and if it takes filing multiple million-dollar lawsuits then that’s what we’re going to do,” Pickens said.

CBS46 also reached out to Statham’s city attorney, Thomas Mitchell, for comment, but he did not respond.  The next of many lawsuits is expected to drop in the next couple of weeks.

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