Lawsuit: Coffee County man wasn't arrested on scene after deputies learned who his brother was

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Cindy Lowe had blood on her nose, a bite mark on her shoulder, and a bruise forming on her skin. Her boyfriend, Joseph Floied, had scratches on his chest that he put there.

To the Coffee County Sheriff's Office deputies on scene that night, it was evident: Lowe was the victim and Floied the aggressor. But all of that changed, according to a federal lawsuit, when deputy Michael Jarvis learned that Floied was related to Adam Floied, assistant chief of the Manchester Police Department.

After a "courtesy call" to Adam Floied, Coffee County authorities allowed Joseph Floied to leave in the back of his brother's car, lied on an official report, and used false information to bring domestic assault charges against Lowe, the suit states.

Although prosecutors dropped the charges, Lowe filed the civil lawsuit against Coffee County and two deputies in Chattanooga's federal district court, arguing the deputies abused their power as Coffee County employees and triggered a malicious prosecution that damaged her life.

On Thursday, attorneys gathered in a conference room with U.S. District Judge Travis McDonough, who set a March 19, 2018, trial date. Before that, though, McDonough asked the attorneys to get him up to speed on their arguments.

Luke Evans, an attorney representing Lowe, told a narrative that echoed her lawsuit, filed in July.

Deputies Jarvis and Andy Neesmith went to the 100 block of Harper Road on May 24, 2015, after Lowe's ex-boyfriend said Joseph Floied had called and threatened him. In the background, the ex-boyfriend could hear Lowe screaming, Evans said.

On scene, Jarvis and Neesmith noticed the blood and bruises on Lowe. Joseph Floeid had scratches on his chest, too, but told the deputies he had done that to himself, the lawsuit says.

"As they go through the process, she's hearing from Jarvis, who says, 'You shouldn't allow this to happen to you,'" Evans said. "From her perspective, he's going to jail. She's being treated as the victim."

Then he made a call to Adam Floied, Evans said, and the tenor shifted.

Neesmith told Jarvis that Tennessee Code Annotated required him to arrest Joseph Floied, the suit says. Jarvis replied, "he was damned if he does or damned if he doesn't," the suit says.

Ultimately, Adam Floied pulled up in a truck and took his brother home.

Wanting the case prosecuted, Lowe went to the Coffee County Sheriff's Office three days later, Evans said. But a copy of the report wasn't ready yet, according to the lawsuit.

Lowe went to the District Attorney's Office and met with a prosecutor, who gave her a report that Jarvis had drafted, the lawsuit states. In her vehicle, pouring over the report, Lowe quickly noticed a troubling fact.

"Jarvis' report omitted that the injuries to Joseph Floied were admittedly self-inflicted," the suit says. "By virtue of the omissions, Jarvis' report made it appear as though Ms. Lowe may have assaulted Joseph Floied."

Lowe vocalized these concerns to a different deputy, Danny Ferrell, during a recorded interview. According to the suit, Ferrell said, "By reading the report and not changing anything, I can determine by reading it that he is the aggressor in it."

Afterward, Ferrell said he would start his own investigation into how deputies handled the incident. But on July 2, 2015, after receiving no return call from Ferrell, Lowe returned to the sheriff's office.

She waited for several hours to speak to Ferrell, the lawsuit says. When he finally came out, Ferrell said he was arresting both of them. Like Lowe, Joseph Floeid's charges were dismissed later that month, news accounts show.

"A lot of that's not disputed," Darrell Townsend, an attorney representing Coffee County, Ferrell and Jarvis, said Thursday.

Lowe and Joseph Floeid had been drinking throughout the afternoon, Townsend said. And when deputies arrived, Lowe was adamant about no charges, he added.

As for Adam Floied, he stayed on the road in his car and didn't affect the investigation, Townsend said.

A couple of days later, Lowe did talk to Ferrell, Townsend said. It was Ferrell's first interview into the incident, and it was about an hour long.

"At this point, she changed her story," Townsend said. "She had been abused."

Contact staff writer Zack Peterson at or 423-757-6347. Follow on Twitter @zackpeterson918.

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