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Lawsuit filed in expressway shooting

Photo by Bill Dinicola

Photo by Bill Dinicola

ALBANY, Ga. -- The family of a man killed after he pulled away from a traffic stop with a drug agent in the car with him has filed a wrongful death suit in Dougherty Superior Court, records show.

Quinta Cobb and Anthony Jordan, the surviving children of Clayton

Lewis and the legal guardians of five of his other children, have filed the suit against the Dougherty County Commission and individual commissioners; Capt. Andy Exum, who was interim commander of the unit at the time of the incident; Maj. Bill Berry, the current drug unit commander; the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office; Sheriff Kevin Sproul; Deputy Sheriff Mark Farley, and the Albany Dougherty Drug Unit.

Click here to read the suit.

Lewis was fatally shot by Farley after a traffic stop near the Liberty Expressway on Jan. 20, 2009. According to the subsequent investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Dougherty District Attorney's Office, during the stop, Farley and other drug agents attempted to apprehend Lewis, who sped away with Farley in the backseat of the car.

Following that investigation, Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards, who had recused himself from participating in the investigation because he sits on the ADDU's oversight board, accepted the recommendation of Crisp County District Attorney Denise Fachini, which cleared Farley of any criminal wrongdoing.

Farley told investigators that while Lewis was driving down the expressway, he and Lewis struggled and that Lewis attempted to pull a handgun on him, which prompted him to shoot Lewis eight times. The car came to a stop near the Jackson Street exit.

Later that evening, a gun was found in the median of the expressway, about a quarter- to half-mile from where the car came to a stop, according to the investigative statements from the GBI.

In the suit, Lewis' family contends that there was no reason for Lewis to have been pulled over and that Farley lied at the scene when he told a fellow officer that Lewis had shot him when, in fact, Farley had shot himself -- inadvertently according to investigators.

They also contend that the weapon the GBI and ADDU said belonged to Lewis was found more than a mile away from where the vehicle came to rest.

"Agent Farley's conduct was reckless, deliberately indifferent and objectively unreasonable. His actions constituted a deprivation of Clayton Lewis Sr.'s life and liberty without due process of law, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution," the suit states.

In addition to violations of Lewis' 14th Amendment rights, the suit contends that Farley used excessive force and that the ADDU was deliberately indifferent to adequately train its agents and officers, and that they and Farley were negligent in the Lewis' death.