published Saturday, July 14th, 2012

Bradley County Interstate 75 shooting lawsuit to be tried in 2013

Investigators search for clues in the median of I-75 in this file photo where a Bradley County deputy sheriff stopped to check on a woman and two small children walking. The woman allegedly slashed the deputy with a knife, and he fired at her as she stole the patrol car. The woman drove a short distrance before plowing through a fence and coming to rest on a Cleveland street.
Investigators search for clues in the median of I-75 in this file photo where a Bradley County deputy sheriff stopped to check on a woman and two small children walking. The woman allegedly slashed the deputy with a knife, and he fired at her as she stole the patrol car. The woman drove a short distrance before plowing through a fence and coming to rest on a Cleveland street.
Photo by Randall Higgins /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
  • photo
    U.S. District Judge Harry S. "Sandy" Mattice
    Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The father and children of a woman who was shot to death on Interstate 75 last year got a trial date Friday in their federal civil lawsuit against Bradley County, Tenn.; its sheriff's office; and the former deputy who shot her.

U.S. District Judge Harry S. "Sandy" Mattice on Thursday scheduled the jury trial for Sept. 24, 2013. The parties could reach a settlement before then.

Former Deputy Dustin Patrick shot and killed Arnetta L. Foster, 30, on May 21, 2011, after responding to a motorist's call that Foster was walking along the interstate with her 10- and 6-year-old children.

Patrick reported that when he approached Foster, she cut him with a knife, then climbed into his patrol car and drove off. The deputy fired, striking the Casselberry, Fla., woman several times. Autopsy reports showed five bullets were recovered from her body, most in the thigh. Toxicology reports revealed Foster also had methamphetamine, Lidocaine, atropine and midazolam — all painkillers — in her blood.

A sheriff's investigation cleared Parker in the shooting, but he later was fired for violating department policy, including one incident in which video footage showed him "exposing his genitals to others in front of a police car at his home," according to court documents.

The lawsuit challenges details of the shooting report and questions the training Patrick received to handle such incidents.

Foster's father, Leonard Foster, first filed the suit in Bradley County Circuit Court. It was moved to federal court at the county attorney's request in June.

Foster filed the lawsuit claiming civil rights violations on behalf of his grandchildren, who were present at the shooting. The lawsuit does not specify damages.

Whitney Durand and John Wolfe Jr., are representing Foster in the lawsuit.

Durand said Friday he was not present at the trial scheduling but he would have preferred an earlier trial date. But the one set may be due to conflicts in both sides and the court's schedule, he said.

Bradley County attorney Thomas LeQuire did not respond to a request for comment.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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