Former Russell County deputy goes to trial for suspect beating

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email

RUSSELL COUNTY, AL (WXTX) -  Former Russell County Sheriff's deputy Tim Watford will face a judge Monday as his trial begins for his part in the beating of a handcuffed man last year.

On November 26, 2010 Russell County deputies Kirby Dollar and Tim Watford, along with Phenix City police officer Rachel Hauser, got a call from a few bail bondsmen, telling them a suspect they had been looking for had been apprehended.

In a previous interview former Russell County Sheriff Tommy Boswell told News Leader 9 that, "The three individuals drove to where the bondmen had the individual. The bondsmen had already tased him and he was on the ground handcuffed, recovering from the tase. When the drug agent got there and began to assault him. It was a pretty severe assault."

The deputies were placed on administrative leave without pay and less than a week after the beating, the officers turned in their resignation from their jobs.

Boswell explained at the time, "Kirby came in and spoke to me, I didn't see Tim Watford. Kirby came in, gave me his resignation and told me he was sorry for what he had done and what he'd done to embarrass the department."

In December the assault victim, Patrick Harrington, filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the deputies, the sheriff's office and the police department.  His attorney, Jay Lewis, explained, "These officers went on their own rampage and proceeded to carry out personal vendettas against this individual and that's the basis of this lawsuit."

Both deputies had originally plead not guilty to the crime, but in August Kirby Dollar took a plea bargain, facing up to four years in prison and possibly having to testify against Tim Watford.

"All of us are very disturbed and disappointed about this incident and the way it came about," former Sheriff Boswell said in December 2010.

Tim Watford's trial begins Monday morning in Opelika.

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