In the small Alabama town of Castleberry, once a highly profitable speed trap where the police department was five times larger than the national average, a lawsuit accusing the former police chief of theft, false imprisonment, and enforcing a made-up law, may about to be resolved.
More than 20 months have passed since local attorney Richard Nix filed suit against former police chief Tracy Hawsey and the town. During that time the contentious town law, or ordinance, that enabled Hawsey and his officers to pull people over and tow their vehicles for $500 each has been shelved and the police department shrunken from five full-time officers to two part-time officers that work on their days off from their regular jobs.
But the lawsuit, which is expected to be mediated before Christmas, according to Hawsey, remains. And while it may bring restitution to the plaintiffs in the case, some of which have never had their cars or cash returned, it also has the potential to devastate an already struggling Castleberry.