After a law firm held a press conference Tuesday announcing a new lawsuit against the city of Hernando, Hernando Police Department and Hernando Police Chief Scott Worsham, a statement was released by a Hernando alderman denouncing the plaintiff's actions.
Ward 4 Alderman Chad Wicker said in a press release on social media Adrian Hoyle's actions should not be understated.
"If he had complied with the officers this entire incident would not have occurred," Wicker's statement read. "Mr. Hoyle pled guilty to a felony crime. I feel a lack of personal responsibility is prevalent in the world today and this is just another example."
Wicker, who is the director of detention services for the DeSoto County Sheriff's Department, said he welcomes an investigation by the Department of Justice into the Hernando Police Department.
"It is important to be fully transparent," Wicker said. "It is obvious that the news reports have raised some serious questions as to how our police department operates. These questions should be addressed immediately."
In July, Wicker voted against a motion to reappoint Worsham as police chief.
The law offices of Sparkman-Zummach and Wells & Associates held a press conference Tuesday afternoon in Memphis at the Wells & Associates office.
Attorneys Martin Zummach and Murray Wells announced the lawsuit from Hoyle, a resident of Memphis, against Hernando from actions stemming from current Hernando Police Officer Lynn Brown in September 2020. Brown is accused of excessive force after Hoyle fled from police.
Officers were pursuing Hoyle for a traffic light violation. The car Hoyle was driving in lost control and crashed into two patrol cars.
In the lawsuit, Hoyle said he complied with the directions of the officers as he was trying to exit the vehicle. The filing claims Brown directed his K-9 unit to attack and officers physically assaulted Hoyle, who also claimed he was verbally abused.
“This case coupled with the second case, Linda White, resulted in the deaths of two young boys. The similarities are that they were borth pulled over for minor traffic offenses. In the White case, the boys had temporary car tags and the officer got suspicious. There was a pursuit, Lynn Brown refused to terminate (the pursuit) and chased them up I-55 and then, we believe, nudged the car off a bridge. Those boys lost their lives.”
Wells said he was soon contacted by the White family and asked to find answers in the deaths. Wells said he reached out to then mayor of Hernando, Tom Ferguson, Worsham and Brown for evidence recovery.
“They destroyed evidence, they didn’t preserve anything,” Wells said. “They destroyed data on the car, they sold the car in auction.”
Wells also said other Hernando Police Officers attempted to report other bad behaviors by Brown but weren’t allowed to by Worsham.
“That’s two separate occasions where other officers have wanted to report Lynn Brown for excessive force and then did not (because of Worsham),” Wells said. “We believe the case is evolving.”
Wells said Worsham never responded to an initial request for information by either families for more information in the cases.
“We received no response and to be clear we sent the letter on the White case in the summer of 2019,” said Wells. “No response, silence, no attorney reached out to me. No city official reached out to me. No law enforcement reached out to me, it was just complete silence.”
Hoyle is seeking $5 million in damages for mental and serious physical injuries he sustained from officers. Hoyle also is seeking an additional $5 million in punitive damages. A jury trial is being requested.
Hoyle’s lawsuit can be read at: https://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/21100358/herandolawsuit.pdf
Attorneys for the Hernando defendants filed a response to the lawsuit, calling it “misleading,” and a “total sham,” adding that the case should be dismissed.
In the city’s claim, it says there was constitutional violation against Hoyle and that no excessive use of force was used.
Hernando’s filed response can be read at: https://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/21100361/city-response-sept-14.pdf