North Carolina Deputy Charged for Illegally Tracking Ex-Girlfriend with Device
A North Carolina sheriff's deputy upset that his ex-girlfriend was dating somebody else is accused of placing a county-owned tracking device on her car, which allowed him to track her movements at any given moment.
Now he is not only facing felony charges, his former employer is being sued for $750,000.
Jason Reid was a deputy with the Catawba County Sheriffs Department when he dated Erica Sigmon from December 2015 to March 2017.
The device was found by Sigmon's new boyfriend five months after she had broken up with Reid.
Sigmon is suing for violation of her constitutional rights, subject her to unlawful seizure and harassment.
Her lawyer laid out the allegations in a letter to Catawba County Manager Mick Berry and the county board of commissioners, stating the following:
The negligent act was the actual treatment of our client,” the letter reads. “Treatment was witnessed by individuals who heard Reid admit to placing a tracker on my client’s vehicle and subsequently apologizing. It is foreseeable that a person would suffer emotional distress after being unlawfully surveilled through the use of a GPS tracking device. Our client suffered this emotional distress and is seeking treatment for this condition.
The investigation into Reid started ten months ago and led to Reid being indicted on two felony and three misdemeanor charges, including cyber-stalking, misdemeanor stalking, willful failure to discharge duties, felony embezzlement and larceny by employee.
If found guilty of all five indictments, he could face more than eight years in prison.
While at her new boyfriends residence on August 2 last year, her boyfriend found it and reported it to Lincoln County Sheriffs Office.
Lincoln County Sheriff David Carpenter turned the investigation over to District Attorney Mike Miller once he was notified that the complaint was against another officer.
According to Hickory Record:
"On April 19, 2018, two search warrants were issued in Union County for the SBI to search the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation of former sheriff’s office captain Jason Reid. The search warrants were served and executed on the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office by SBI agents."
After the raid, Reid took to his Facebook page, denying that he put a tracking device on Sigmon’s vehicle.
Catawba County Attorney Debra Bechtel informed her attorneys that if an officer acts out of the scope of his duties, the county would not be liable for those actions.
"This entire situation is a political attack," Jason told WSCOTV, referring to his recent bid for sheriff in which he ran against his father, Coy Reid, who was elected.
According to the heavily redacted warrant, there were also references to text messages from Reid to Sigmon's new boyfriend that give details of the locations of where he had been , as well as a picture that was taken of his car while they were eating at a restaurant.
This is not the first time that Reid has been in legal trouble.
District Attorney David Learner sent Reid a Giglio letter, which is a process by which prosecutors determine an officer’s credibility and the issues involved with the credibility.
According to WBTV:
"The letter outlines three reasons why Reid’s credibility could be called into question by defense attorneys:
A case in Lincoln County in which Reid was the supervisor that resulted in a dismissal due to credibility issues with the officer involved. A total of 58 other cases were dismissed as a result.
An incident in 2005 in which Reid admitted to using counterfeit currency and misrepresenting which law enforcement agency he worked for.
The fact that the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina will not prosecute cases in which Reid has taken part."
His father denied all three instances but WBTV investigated all three and was able to confirm that all three did happen.