Attorneys file to dismiss lawsuit over Strasburg officer’s firing

Attorneys for a former Strasburg police officer have filed a motion to dismiss a federal lawsuit that challenged his firing over accusations of excessive use of force.

Aaron Lewis filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg after judges in Shenandoah County Circuit Court and the Virginia Supreme Court rejected his earlier attempts to overturn the firing.

The suit against the Town of Strasburg initially included Chief Tim Sutherly as a defendant, but Judge Michael F. Urbanski dismissed Sutherly from the case in March, leaving the town as the remaining defendant.

Lewis’ attorneys filed the dismissal motion Tuesday. It stated they had finished gathering evidence from the town to prove their case, and “based upon the information obtained, plaintiff has determined not pursue this action.”

An employee at the Leesburg law firm representing Lewis said no attorneys involved in the case were available for comment.

Lewis was a member of a tactical team that executed a search warrant in December 2009 at a home in which a woman was arrested and later filed a complaint stating that someone had hit her with a flashlight after police entered her residence. Her complaint also accused police of kicking a man after his arrest.

Lewis contested the accusations at a grievance hearing and later claimed that town officials tampered with witnesses and interfered with his efforts to call them to testify on his behalf.

Sutherly fired Lewis a few weeks after the grievance hearing. Sutherly cited excessive use of force, violation of safety rules and making a false statement as his reasons for dismissing Lewis.

Sutherly has insisted from the beginning of Lewis’ court challenges that the dismissal was justified and handled properly.

“My reaction is I just wish him well in his future endeavors and leave it at that,” Sutherly said of Lewis.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com