Officers sue Henry County bloggers; plaintiffs face federal lawsuit

Officers sue Henry County bloggers; plaintiffs face federal lawsuit

DALE CO., AL, (WSFA) - A lawsuit brought by four current or retired Dale County law enforcement officers is taking aim at three contributors to The Henry County Report, accusing the blog of negligence and claiming it libeled, slandered, and defamed them.

Keith Cauthen, Tony Spivey, Eddy Henderson, and Gary Whittington say the blog accused them of abusing their positions in law enforcement and even accused one of them of murder.

A post on the Henry County Report, a blog operated by Jon Carroll, claimed a former Ozark officer murdered J.B. Beasley and Tracey Hawlett in 1999.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs say Carroll has not presented any evidence to prove the blog's allegations.

"Mr. Carroll is just a guy who operates his own website and throws his opinions on there," said attorney Adam Parker with the law firm of Cobb, Boyd, White & Cobb. "And he says they're news they started gaining by traction with media. They're starting to be shared on sites such as Facebook, and it's causing our clients, due to these falsehoods, to suffer in their communities." Parker added.

Jon Carroll currently has a federal lawsuit pending against Spivey, Henderson, Cauthen, current Dothan Police Chief Steven Parrish, and several others. His complaint was filed in Seattle, Washington on January 12. The suit claims the officers' suit violates his right to freedom of speech.

"Jon White [former Dothan Police Chief] and these people are doing everything they can do to cover this up, and they're doing it for good reason," Carroll said.

The officers' lawsuit against Carroll also names others who contributed to The Henry County Report, including Rena Crumb and Dean Matthews.

"Three of us have had death threats. We have complained, filled out complaints of a terroristic threat with the FBI previous to today. They are aware of this. The department of Justice is investigating this," Carroll said.

Attorneys say the City of Dothan plans to file a separate lawsuit against Carroll next week for further allegations.

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