In the trial that began Tuesday, defendant Landon Cordell claimed he and a friend were assaulted in the parking lot of a downtown Tuscaloosa bank by three off-duty law enforcement officers from Walker County in April 2005. The brawl occured after all the individuals attended a concert at the bar, 4th and 23rd, across the street.
Jurors found in favor of Cordell after an almost five-hour deliberation on Thursday.
In an order filed Friday by Circuit Judge W. Scott Donaldson, defendant Adam Hadder, a former member of the Walker County Narcotics Enforcement Team and current Walker County Sheriff’s deputy, was ordered to pay $10,000 in compensatory damage and $10,000 in punitive damages, while Wes Brown, an agent with the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board at the time of the incident, was ordered to pay $5,000 in compensatory damage.
The judge’s order said the law enforcement officers will be responsible for the costs associated with the suit.
Byron McMath, Cordell’s attorney, said there wasn’t enough evidence for the third officer to be tried in the civil case.
“I’m proud Landon and his family stuck with this,” McMath said. “This is not about the money. It is about vindication for this man being violated. Law enforcement officers should be servants. They are supposed to serve and protect.”
Cordell said he is relieved to have the trial over.
“It’s been a long seven years,” Cordell said. “To have it finally all over with is a relief.”
Hadder and Brown were both acquitted in 2008 of any criminal charges stemming from the incident.
“If Mr. McMath wants to make a big deal out of this so be it,” Hadder said. “We’ve all grown up and moved on. We’ve learned from our mistakes of the past.”
Hadder said he expected the judgments will be overturned in the appeals process. “We’re not happy with the jury’s decision,” he said. “I disagree with it, but I respect it.”
Sheriff John Mark Tirey said he didn’t expect any disciplinary action would be taken against Hadder due to the judgment being civil in nature.
“There was an acquittal in the criminal case,” Tirey said. “Just like if this was a bankruptcy or any other civil matter, civil service prevents any action.”