Red Bank vice mayor sues over third arrest

Red Bank vice mayor sues over third arrest

August 11th, 2010 by Chris Carroll in Politics Local

Another Red Bank official has tossed his own personal lawsuit onto the growing pile of litigation associated with the city.

Monty Millard, the 58-year-old, thrice-arrested vice mayor of Red Bank, filed a $1 million lawsuit against Hamilton County and the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office on grounds of police misconduct during his latest arrest.

Millard declined to comment Tuesday and deferred to his attorney, Jennifer Lawrence, who did not return calls seeking comment.

According to the complaint, Millard attended a July 2009 senior citizens luncheon sponsored by Red Bank in his official capacity as vice mayor.

On Aug. 6, 2009, he was arrested on a charge of violating an order of protection stemming from the luncheon, which his estranged wife also attended.

The lawsuit alleges that Millard's wife, Sonja, attended the meeting "with knowledge" that Millard would be joining. It never specifies if Ms. Millard used her "knowledge" to trap her husband into violating the protection order.

Ms. Millard said Tuesday she arrived at the luncheon more than an hour late, assuming her husband would enter and exit after a few official remarks.

"I got there late to avoid him," Ms. Millard said. "If I had seen his car, I wouldn't have gone at all."

The lawsuit alleges that the county alerted the news media and allowed them to photograph Millard being fingerprinted and booked into the Hamilton County Jail.

It also states that Hamilton County Magistrate Bob Davis chose to declare the arrest warrant invalid but that county officials kept Millard locked up for an unspecified period of time.

An arrest record and a copy of the warrant denial were unavailable Tuesday afternoon.

Millard seeks compensation for "physical suffering, mental suffering and humiliation, injury to reputation and other damages" stemming from the arrest. The lawsuit specifically mentions "pain and swelling" from a deputy's handcuffs.

Hamilton County Attorney Rheubin Taylor said his office will defend both agencies against Millard's complaint, but he declined to comment further.

While Millard's case does not affect Red Bank, it brings more publicity to the city in a court-heavy year. Since April, several people have filed lawsuits against Red Bank, including a former police chief, a current police officer and motorists fighting the city's three sets of traffic cameras.

The lawsuit marks a new chapter in an ongoing divorce story that has captivated Red Bank since December 2008, when Millard was arrested on a charge of aggravated criminal trespassing in his own house one month into his current term as vice mayor.

Red Bank police and Hamilton County Sheriff's deputies also have arrested Millard on charges of burglary of an auto.

Authorities have dismissed all charges against Millard, but residents circulated at least one petition asking him to resign from the Red Bank Board of Commissioners.

Online: Read Red Bank Vice Mayor Monty Millard's complaint against Hamilton County and the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office. Read previous coverage.