ONLY ON WVLT: Family of man shot by Blount Co. deputy speaks out

By: Sara Shookman Email
By: Sara Shookman Email

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Federal investigators are looking into claims deputy Doug Moore beat former Sevierville Police Officer Tim Coulter, after taking him into custody.

The department suspended Moore for three days after the beating, and then promoted him to Lieutenant less than a month later.

Moore is also the subject of a lawsuit in connection to the shooting death of LeeRoy Hickman.

An incident report released to Volunteer TV Thursday shows Sheriff James Berrong was blocking the roadway where Coulter slammed into a deputy's cruiser. He was on scene during the beating.

Blount County deputies also report they knew Coulter was armed and was resisting arrest. After pulling him out of the truck, deputies used Freeze chemical spray and 'hand tactics' to subdue him.

But internal memos show, it didn't stop there. Sgt. Doug Moore kicked Coulter at least 8 times. A supervisor wrote, "This is not a standard practice and we do not want Deputies or the community to think that it is."

"My first reaction is, they learned nothing. Nothing has changed," said Jerry Leh Hickman, Hickman's son.

The family of LeeRoy tell Volunteer TV they can't believe that for the second time in three years the same deputy is involved in another excessive force investigation.

Moore's accused of killing Hickman in February 2008 while serving a warrant for Hickman's arrest.

Hickman's widow, Jan, told me its been a rough couple of days after seeing the video of Doug Moore during Coulter's arrest.

Jan Hickman let her son do the talking, but she said she wanted to share her husband's story.

LeeRoy 'Jerry' Hickman, a former Maryville Police officer, gunned down while Blount County deputies tried to arrest him.

Leh says the family filed suit against Moore and others claiming excessive force and a wrongful death.

"When you need help, you go to the police. And they will take care of people safely when they need it. And that's not how it happened," Hickman said.

Hickman's son says his dad was suffering from depression and had verbally abused his mom.

She went to Blount County Sheriff's Office for help. Leh says deputies lured Hickman out of his home with a plain clothes officer.

"If they had sent a marked car with a uniformed officer, and told my dad what they were there for, I guarantee you things would have turned out differently," said Leh.

Hickman put his hand in his pocket. Moore and deputy Paige Craig shot him five times. He died a short time later.

Deputies say a loaded hand gun was found underneath Hickman. His family isn't so sure.

"What I would like to see happen, I think the officers deserve to lose their jobs," said Leh.

To see another officer subject to violence,"It just makes me sad, it makes me sad for another family having to deal with such a horrific occurrence," said Leh.

"My dad was a good man, and he deserved a chance to be good again," he said.

The family says a trial date has not been set, but they are still hoping to get justice.

Moore was placed on administrative leave immediately following the shooting, but was reinstated within a few days.

Documents from BCSO show Moore was praised for his actions. A biannual review from the January to June 2008 says his actions likely saved the lives of other officers.


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  • by Doug Location: Knoxville on Jul 28, 2011 at 04:55 PM
    It's interesting that the bad guys seem to have all the rights in this world. If Hickman had been allowed to retrieve his weapon, an officer may have lost his life. Then the public would be say "They should have shot him right there". The officers, when entering to serve a warrant, normally 1) don't know the people present, 2) don't know any of the other people present, 3) are paranoid about being shot given our current situation regarding respect for law and order and culture in which they work. If you doubt what I am saying, I suggest you get POST certified, apply for a position and get to work...i.e. - put your money where your mouth is!
  • by GRACE Location: maryville on Jul 22, 2011 at 02:50 PM
    yes iam afraid it is all true
  • by Jennifer Location: USA on Jul 21, 2011 at 10:34 PM
    It certainly sounds as though the media is taking every opportunity to sensationalize this story at the possible expense of a man's job. Let us all remember that the deputy is at a distinct disadvantage due to his inability to comment on an ongoing criminal investigation, thus allowing the families of others involved to say anything they wish to without contradiction. The only people who know what really happened are those who were there. I wish the families were under the same requirements as those whose jobs are at stake. Let's hope readers are wise enough to recognize when they are only receiving half of the story from folks who may not have even been present at the time of the incidents in question.
  • by tim Location: knoxville on Jul 21, 2011 at 09:36 PM
    I do feel for there lose.But I do have to say after been in law enforcement for a number of years, you never know what is going to happen when you walk you to the next door, I have went through the news and read back on the case of the Hickman, i have severed warrants and we have used the cover of night to due them if there is weapons in the home. I am tore but until someone puts on the badge you are a target for everyone that want to make a buck

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