CHEATHAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Supreme Court could soon decide whether a Cheatham County deputy used excessive force when he allegedly fired eight rounds into a man’s front door in August 2018.
According to court documents, Deputy Doug Fox and his partner responded to Mark Campbell’s rural Cheatham County home following two 911 hang-up calls that came from the area.
They knocked on Campbell’s door but did not identify themselves, according to Campbell’s attorney, John Morris.
“You have to realize this is almost 10 o’clock at night in rural Cheatham County, so Mr. Campbell, Mark Campbell is worried about who is knocking on his door at this hour,” Morris said.
Campbell could be heard on body camera video asking the deputies from inside his home, “You got a gun?” after they asked him to come outside.
According to the body camera, one deputy responded, “What’s going on, Mark?”
Campbell was heard in the footage replying, “I got one too.”
Seconds later, the video showed Fox turn around, grab his gun and shoot two rounds at the front door. His partner, who was standing in front of him during the initial shots, dove to the ground; Fox shot six more rounds into Campbell’s door, according to court documents.
“It was this spray of shots through the door,” Morris said.
“[Campbell] was freaking out. He yelled at his wife, ‘Call the police. Someone is shooting at us through the door.’ He thought it was a bad actor,” Morris said. “He had no idea at that point it was law enforcement.”
Deputies said Campbell came to the door with a weapon and pointed it, which is why Fox fired, according to the video.
However, Morris told News 2 no gun was found in Campbell’s house. He also said his client was holding his cell phone when he peeked through the door.
Despite that, Campbell was arrested that night for assaulting a police officer, but the charge was later dropped by a general sessions judge.
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Multiple judges have sided with Campbell when he claimed in a lawsuit that Fox violated his civil rights.
Fox has appealed each judge’s ruling, claiming qualified immunity, among other arguments, and the case has now reached the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court decides to hear the case, their ruling could set a new precedent for officers nationwide.
“When the Supreme Court hears a case and makes a decision, issues an opinion, that becomes the law of the land,” Morris said.
The Cheatham County sheriff, who was not sheriff at the time of the incident, declined to comment on the case.
The Cheatham County mayor had not responded to News 2’s request for comment at the time this article was published.
Campbell said it will likely take several months before the parties learn whether the Supreme Court will hear the case.
Fox is no longer employed at the Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office.