Sheriff, other police, county clerk dismissed from suit

Nov. 11—ANDERSON — A federal court has dismissed several defendants in a civil rights lawsuit filed by local resident Alice Flowers.

The lawsuit was filed by Flowers in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana against several members of the Madison County Sheriff's Department and Madison County Clerk Olivia Pratt.

Her civil rights complaint based on illegal search and seizure against sheriff's Deputy Brian Bell is still pending.

Madison County Sheriff Scott Mellinger confirmed Thursday that Bell was suspended for two days for violation of departmental policy after the 2021 incident.

Flowers said Thursday she has provided the court with documents confirmed what took place.

In the lawsuit, Flowers alleges that on Feb. 25, 2021, Deputies Brian Bell, Derek Saylor, Juan Galan, Justin Weber and Patrick Hosier pursued her and her son, Jacob, by placing a deputy at two locations she owns in Anderson.

Flowers said a deputy followed her for 3.2 miles, starting on Beach Street, and she was eventually stopped at the intersection of Broadway and Willow Street.

The lawsuit contends Bell blocked her car from moving, and Bell claimed to have a search warrant for Flowers' cellphone.

Flowers refused to consent to the search of the phone, and it's alleged Bell gave her an unsigned judicial warrant.

The county's attorney moved for a motion to dismiss the claim against several of the defendants, which the court granted.

The complaint was dismissed against Sheriff Mellinger and Pratt, Saylor, Galan, Weber, Hosier and John Does and Jane Does.

Flowers, who is representing herself, did not respond to the motion to dismiss, which was cited by the court for the dismissal.

The only claim by Flowers still pending is against Bell.

The court document states that Flowers' complaint is based on unlawful search and seizure.

"Taking the allegations as true, Plaintiff (Flowers) was 'seized' when Bell, a Madison County Police Officer, pulled his sheriff car in front of Plaintiff and blocked her vehicle.

"Additionally, Bell conducted an unreasonable search and seizure of Plaintiff's phone by confiscating it while relaying on a facially invalid warrant unsigned by a neutral and detached magistrate," the court ruling continues.

The court record states the county is not contesting these individual-capacity claims as they relate to Bell.

In July, Flowers filed a motion to find Mellinger in contempt, alleging that the county's attorney hired by the insurance company is now attempting to delay the court proceedings.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.