A federal jury cleared Bourbon County deputy sheriff Ed Rodgers last week in a civil lawsuit that was filed after he shot an unarmed man in a darkened field.
The lawsuit, filed more than two years ago, accused Rodgers of using excessive force and of deliberate indifference to suffering.
In September 2007, Rodgers had been dispatched alone to assist Robert Brewer, who had been drinking all day. Rodgers testified he found Brewer hiding behind a tree, saw a weapon and thought he had been fired on. Rodgers fired his weapon, and a bullet hit Brewer's neck and left forearm.
Brewer did not die as a result of the injuries he suffered during the altercation off Coulthard Lane. He died of other causes in February 2009.
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Brewer's attorneys questioned the reasonableness of Rodgers' belief that Brewer had a gun, given that no weapon was ever found and that the deputy's duty was to retreat rather than shoot back.
The civil case was brought by Brewer's widow, Rhonda Brewer.
The 11-woman, one-man jury in U.S. District Judge Jennifer B. Coffman's courtroom reached the verdict Nov. 10. Two other juries were not able to reach a verdict.