$6 million lawsuits claim Lee Co. deputies violated civil rights - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

$6 million lawsuits claim Lee Co. deputies violated civil rights

Sheriff Reggie Rachals Sheriff Reggie Rachals
Attorney Jim Finkelstein Attorney Jim Finkelstein

Two South Georgians filed separate lawsuits accusing the Lee County Sheriff, three deputies, and the County Commission of violating their civil rights.

Rosetta Bateman of Sumter County filed suit in Albany Federal Court, while Lovice Powell of Terrell County filed suit in Lee Superior Court.

They claim that in February 2013 Lee County deputies seized $15,000 from them during a traffic stop and did not return it, even though they were never charged with a crime.

Their attorney, Jim Finkelstein of Albany, says law enforcers are using drug interdiction laws as cash grabs.

"Not for the purpose of stopping drugs or stopping drug dealers, but for seeing how much money they can garner for local law enforcement or local governments. And partially the Drug Enforcement Administration," Finkelstein said.

The plaintiffs claim they had to file expensive federal lawsuits against the DEA to get their money back.

The lawsuits ask for $6 million dollars each in damages for violations of their civil rights.

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