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Panthers' Greene sued
Man claims linebacker 'arrested,' harassed him
Posted: Friday February 12, 1999 01:42 AM
ROCK HILL, S.C. (AP) - An Alabama man has sued Carolina Panthers linebacker Kevin Greene for alleged assault and harassment. Byron Eugene Samples claims Greene roughed him up after stopping him for a traffic offense last month.
Greene, who says he is a reserve deputy in Alabama, said he hadn't heard about the lawsuit but denied the charges.
"Are you kidding? That's a new one on me," Greene told The (Rock Hill) Herald from his Shelby County, Ala., home. "I did not shove him, I did not grab him around the neck, and I did not throw him against a propane tank."
The suit, which also accuses Greene of impersonating a police officer, was filed Thursday in St. Clair County Circuit Court in Pell City, Ala. Greene said he had to find a lawyer and discuss his next steps.
Samples seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages to cover medical bills and emotional distress resulting from the Jan. 9 run-in.
Kenneth Ingram Jr., Samples' attorney, said local authorities in Alabama tried to coerce Samples into keeping quiet.
"I don't know what the relationship is between Mr. Greene and the police, but there have been officers who have come to my client's house and called him and asked him to keep it hush-hush," he told The Herald.
Ingram said Moody, Ala., police Capt. Johnny Kile initiated a meeting at the police station.
"My client told me that Captain Kile was insistent that he sit down and meet with Mr. Greene," Ingram said. "On two occasions, my client asked Mr. Greene for an apology, and on both occasions, he absolutely refused. That was the end of that meeting."
Kile disputed the lawyer's account.
"Nobody ever told him not to say anything," Kile said of Samples. "I called him and told him we didn't need all of this - that's why I wanted to get them together and talk." Kile said Greene wasn't charged because Samples refused to bring witnesses before a magistrate and never came up with a videotape he claimed to have that showed the incident.
Kile also said that when a detective asked Samples to remove his shirt so his reported bruises could be photographed, Samples hit himself in the rib cage with his fist to try to make some marks, The Herald reported Friday.
"He talked about bruises, but there were no bruises there," Kile said.
Ingram said Samples still suffers neck pain and will have an MRI soon to see if there is disk damage.
It all started Jan. 9 when Greene, identifying himself as a Calhoun County (Ala.) sheriff's deputy, stopped Samples for erratic driving. Samples later told police a bag of golf balls spilled in the floorboard, causing him to swerve.
After Greene flashed his headlights and what looked like a badge, he pulled his Toyota 4Runner in front of Samples' car at a stop sign, got out and told him, "You're under arrest," The Herald reported. The suit alleges Greene then grabbed Samples by the neck in a choke hold, dragged him more than 170 feet across the road and slung him into a convenience store.
After the store clerk told them to take the disagreement outside, Greene allegedly grabbed Samples around the neck again, carried him outside and threw him against a propane tank, according to the suit.
Police arrived after a witness called 911.
Complicating matters is the fact Greene might not have authority to make arrests.
Though Greene said Thursday night he had been a reserve deputy for three years, an employee at the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission in Montgomery, Ala., said there was no record of Greene's being certified or registered as a deputy.
Greene has 30 days to respond to the suit before an initial hearing is scheduled before a judge.
Ingram said he expects it will be nine months to a year before the case goes to court.
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