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Don Baker Files Lawsuit Against MPD Sergeant, City of Morgantown

Events stemming from a December 2010 altercation between Don Baker and Morgantown Police Sergeant Andy Gidcumb have resulted in a lawsuit being filed in Butler Circuit Court.  In the civil complaint, which was filed yesterday, September 28, Baker names Gidcumb and the City of Morgantown as defendants.  The Butler County Sheriff’s Department served the lawsuit papers yesterday on Gidcumb and Mayor Linda Keown on behalf of the city.

Beech Tree News ran the following story (posted 12/3/10) about the incident at the time it happened:

A well-known Morgantown resident was arrested on Wednesday and lodged in the Butler County Jail.  Don Baker (aka Cousin Don), of Nyla’s Avenue in Morgantown, was arrested at his residence shortly after 4 p.m. on Wednesday by officers with the Morgantown Police Department.  Baker, who owned and operated Cousin Don’s Furniture Store on Main Street in Morgantown for years, was charged with assaulting a police officer and disorderly conduct.

MPD Sergeant Andy Gidcumb went to Baker’s home after hearing that Baker supposedly had been critical of the city police department.  Apparently, an argument ensured resulting in Baker allegedly striking Gidcumb with a cordless phone.  Gidcumb was visibly injured from the alleged assault.  MPD Officer Chris Reneer responded to the residence and Baker was arrested and taken to the Butler County Jail.

MPD Chief Billy Phelps told Beech Tree News that an investigation into this issue is ongoing.

Consequently, Gidcumb was placed on Administrative Leave without pay for an unspecified time period and received other, unnamed “internal discipline actions.”  Eventually, the charge of assaulting a police officer was dropped.

Baker’s lawsuit lists ten specific allegations against Gidcumb resulting from the physical altercation between the two men, as well as five counts on alleged wrongdoing.

Count One alleges that Gidcumb’s action “constitutes the offense, or offenses, of trespassing and/or menacing and/or harassing communications and/or communicating a threat and/or disorderly conduct.”

Count Two alleges that “Gidcumb’s conduct rises to the level of assault and/or battery, both which were carried out and carried forth intentionally.”

County Three alleges that the investigation conducted by the City and Department found Gidcumb had violated numerous policies and procedures of the Morgantown Police Department and used “poor judgment” in going to Baker’s home.

Count Four alleges that Gidcumb’s conduct “gives rise to a cause of action for abuse of process and/or malicious prosecution.

Count Five alleges that since Gidcumb has been employed by the city, been subject to an investigation, and disciplinary action, the City of Morgantown is “vicariously liable for all of Gidcumb’s conduct and Baker’s damages …  .”

In conclusion, Baker’s complaint asks for “actual, compensatory, and punitive damages,” as well as a “trial by jury” and “all other relief to which he may be entitled.”

Baker is represented by attorney Matthew J. Baker of Bowling Green.

Any civil lawsuit represents the Plaintiff’s allegations against the defendant.  Any liability will ultimately be determined by a court of law.

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