WENTWORTH A Reidsville man who allegedly shot into the car of a Rockingham County social worker has filed a $23 million federal lawsuit against Sheriff Sam Page, the sheriffs department and department of social services.
Christopher Lee Neal, 42, mailed the filing to the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina from the Alamance County Detention Center on July 12. The verified complaint and swearing of obligations was signed on June 30.
The complaint states that the suit was filed in accordance to Section 1983 a federal law that allows lawsuits for the violation of constitutional rights.
Neal alleged in the complaint that his children were unlawfully placed with the foster care system and that law enforcement entered his home without a search warrant or proper documentation, causing mental and emotional distress.
He is seeking $14 million for violation of his and his childrens constitutional rights. He is also asking for $5 million in punitive damages for the intentional infliction of emotional distress and $4 million for the mental and emotional damages caused in their removal from their home.
Neal was arrested on June 15 in North Myrtle Beach, three days after allegedly firing a gun at the car of a Rockingham County social worker in Burlington.
He was charged with one count of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and one count of shooting into an occupied vehicle after he apparently targeted social worker Carlietha Rosanna Glover following an investigation by child protective services that led to children being removed from his home.
Earlier that evening, sheriff's deputies escorted Glover, who lives outside of the county, to the Rockingham County line on N.C. 87, heading toward Burlington.
Heading home, Glover was driving her vehicle south on West Webb Avenue in Burlington at about 11:30 p.m. June 12 when she reached the intersection of Webb Avenue and Glen Raven Road. Once stopped, a navy blue BMW sports-utility vehicle drove alongside her vehicle and fired a gunshot into the drivers side of Glovers car.
Glover, who was not injured by the gunfire, notified Burlington police of the incident and drove about 2 miles to the police station, where she was met by officers.
According to the court document, Neal received a call on his cell phone from agents working on behalf of the Rockingham County Department of Social Services on June 13 prior to the shooting incident. He brushed the call off as some sort of prank call and asked the caller not to play about his kids.
The document states that after an interview with the staff later in the day, it was determined that the mother of Neals children tested positive for THC marijuana even though his newborn child, born six days earlier, did not.
Neals handwritten complaint says he then questioned what the DSSs involvement had to do with his two older children. It also states that a social worker replied by saying, We just want to make sure that theyre fine.
An agreement was reached of a time for social workers to meet with him and his children the next day at his fathers house on Brooks Road in Reidsville. Later that day, the suit states, sheriffs deputies kicked in the door and unlawfully seized two of his small children from a property on Knowles Road, owned by Neal.
Its unclear who was staying with the children at the time of the incident, but the case file states that Neal was warned about the situation by a telephone call from his childrens mother, Latanya Whetsell.
Once apprised of the situation, Neal wrote that he immediately left his fathers home to address the incident.
The lawsuit says that upon arrival, he asked officials on the property for proper documentation and that neither produced any documents for the invasion and that defendants were asked for a search warrant and each defendant produced nothing signed by an Article III Judge, not even an affidavit of probable cause.
The final statement of fact in the complaint states that the defendants that responded to Knowles Road had violated every aspect of [the] plaintiffs constitutional rights in the highest regards and the rights of his children. This arbitrary abuse of power is exactly what the framers of the constitution had imagined and feared from government defendants.
Neal, who was extradited back to Alamance County on July 3, is set to appear in Alamance County Superior Court for criminal proceedings on Oct. 11.
The civil case is still pending.
Contact Joe Dexter at (336) 349-4331, ext. 6139and follow @JoeDexter_RCN on Twitter.
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