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INVESTIGATIVE UNIT: Officer arrested for stalking costs town of Jackson thousands of dollars in legal settlements

1 year 2 hours 45 minutes ago Tuesday, July 25 2023 Jul 25, 2023 July 25, 2023 5:52 PM July 25, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

JACKSON — A federal lawsuit filed against a troubled Jackson police officer spells out years of problems that the town knew about but didn't do anything to address.

Instead, taxpayers in Jackson had to pay $75,000 to settle two different lawsuits filed against the officer, his police chief, the police department and the town, according to the mayor.

One lawsuit, settled for $50,000, alleged a woman was sexually assaulted at a traffic stop conducted by Officer Travis Depew. Depew's history of problems are noted in the suit.

On August 6, 2020, Depew pulled over a Black man without cause, then slammed him to the ground, causing injuries, the complaint said. On Oct. 12, 2020, Depew beat a Black man in the face with a flashlight, causing blowout facial fractures, according to the complaint.

Also, on Feb. 5, 2021, Depew allegedly choked a Black teenager in a parking lot and directed a racial slur toward him. Depew was arrested for choking the teenager in May 2021 and charged with simple battery and malfeasance in office.

The mayor said Tuesday that because the chief is elected, he runs his own department and all questions needed to be directed to him. WBRZ spoke to a man who identified himself as the assistant chief of the Jackson Police Department. He said he did not trust the media and would not comment, and also said the chief had nothing to say either.

District Attorney Sam D'aquilla said Tuesday that all of Depew's prior issues come up in court as "Brady material" each time a defendant comes into court for a case Depew worked. That is a court disclosure that prosecutors make to the defense about problems with an officer's credibility.

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