SPENCER, W.Va. — A lawsuit has been filed against the Roane County deputy and the Roane County Commission by the estate of a man that was the victim of a fatal shooting in February.
The suit claims Deputy Michael King’s ‘negligence and recklessness’ led to Timothy Rhodes’ death. Rhodes was shot and killed by King on February 22 in what the plaintiff’s attorney called a “response to a complaint that was at most the level of a traffic ticket.”
Deputies were called to a home off Ambler Ridge Road in the Walton area because someone claimed Rhodes’ vehicle had driven by kicking up rocks onto their property.
According to Roane County Sheriff Todd Cole, King arrived on the scene and asked Rhodes and a passenger inside of the vehicle to get out. Allegedly, King tried to handcuff Rhodes and Rhodes reached for King’s gun, leading to King shooting Rhodes in the face.
The lawsuit claims King arrived on the scene not in uniform and not displaying a badge, as he was approaching Rhodes’ vehicle screaming with a shotgun.
The suit continues by saying the passenger and Rhodes, which were on family property, got out of the vehicle before King pushed Rhodes to the ground and told him to stay there. The suit then says when Rhodes went to stand up and after being on his back from the push, King shot him.
“This was a senseless act of violence against an unarmed man on his own property by someone who was sworn to uphold the law,” attorney Booth Goodwin said.
The lawsuit continues by saying that King had a reputation for excessive force and cites multiple complaints against him it says weren’t properly dealt with by the commission or sheriff’s office.
“This did not have to happen because our investigation to date has already revealed a number of credible complaints of violent and inappropriate behavior by King that his employers most certainly knew or should have known about,” Goodwin said.
“King is a rogue deputy and he should have been reigned in before something like this tragedy occurred.”
There have been protests against King and the sheriff’s office in the county following the death of Rhodes.
The Roane County Commission is named in the suit as King was working in its employment through the department.
Mental anguish and pain and suffering are among the damages for several things the suit asks for.