Federal Judge Thomas Thrash, Jr. last week granted a motion for summary judgment to end a lawsuit brought about by former Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charles Bannister against Gwinnett Sheriff Butch Conway and two of Conway’s deputies.
From the Judge’s order:
Any allegation of a conspiracy between Conway, Benson, and Cummings to unlawfully arrest the Plaintiff is based on pure speculation. Summary judgment as to the Plaintiff’s false imprisonment claim against the Defendant Cummings should be granted. Having no independent basis, summary judgment as to the Plaintiff’s false imprisonment claim against the Defendants Benson and Conway should be granted.
The lawsuit, filed in April, 2012, claimed Bannister’s arrest for driving under the influence in June, 2010 was politically motivated, and asked for more than $1.7 million in damages. Breathalyzer and blood tests after the arrest showed there was no alcohol in his system, and the sheriff issued an apology.
At the time of his arrest, a Gwinnett special grand jury was meeting to consider whether Bannister and other commissioners had acted illegally in a series of land purchases by the county that benefited developers. Bannister resigned his seat in October, 2010, days before the grand jury was to announce its findings.