Charges dismissed against homeowner alleging excessive force by Cheatham County Sheriff's deputies

Posted at 6:54 PM, Jan 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-06 19:54:36-05

CHEATHAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WTVF) — Criminal charges filed against a Cheatham County homeowner alleging excessive force by sheriff's deputies have been dismissed after body camera video was viewed by a judge.

Back in August of 2018, Cheatham County deputy Doug Fox fired eight rounds through the front door of Mark Campbell's rural home.

"In this case, this wasn't about a split second decision based on a threat. This was an overreaction and inappropriate use of deadly force," Campbell's attorney John Morris said about the shooting. Morris says a judge this week dismissed the assault of an officer charges against Campbell.

"There was no crime there. There never should have been charges," Morris said.

A federal lawsuit against the deputies involved is moving forward.

Body cam video shows deputies Fox and Chris Austin investigating two 9-1-1 cellphone hang-ups from an unknown location in the area. It's after dark when the deputies approached Campbell's home. They knocked, but never identified themselves, before calling out to Campbell: "Come on out Mark. What's up man? You gotta gun. What's going on Mark?"

"I got one too," Campbell responded.

At that moment, Sgt. Fox turned and pulled his weapon, firing eight rounds through the front door seconds later.

The deputies said they saw Campbell open the door with a weapon. But, the video only shows Campbell peeking from behind the door.

Campbell says he claimed to have a gun because he was scared and didn't know who was outside, and a search of the home after Campbell surrendered never found a gun.

Campbell was arrested for assault, but now, nearly two years later, those charges are gone.

It came down to this: The deputies never identified themselves. And, no gun was ever found. Those are two keys that will be part of that federal lawsuit which seeks damages claiming the homeowner's constitutional rights were violated.

Doug Fox is no longer with the sheriff's department.