A lawsuit filed by the family of former Cottageville Mayor Bert Reeves, who was shot dead last year by a town police officer, has been transferred to federal court in Charleston.
The wrongful death lawsuit was filed late last month in Colleton County. It names as defendants the town, its police department and former Officer Randall Price, who shot Reeves during a confrontation on May 16, 2011.
The case was transferred to U.S. District Court on Monday because it involves federal matters, namely allegations of civil rights violations under the 4th and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution, according to a filing.
Judge David Norton will hear the case.
Among other things, the lawsuit alleges the town was negligent in hiring and failing to supervise Price, and that the officer used excessive force against Reeves. The lawsuit states that Price targeted Reeves because the former mayor raised concerns about complaints from town residents about the officer’s “aggressive behavior.” The lawsuit alleges Price drove to a rural dirt road near Town Hall, blocked Reeves in and shot him in the chest.
The town, the department and Price have not formally responded to the allegations.
The State Law Enforcement Division investigated the shooting, It wrapped up its probe last fall without taking action.