Disgraced celebrity hunter William “Spook” Spann has sued the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s top official and other TWRA officers or officials for what he says is harassment after being “rigorously targeted” for the last three years.
Spann in 2013 accepted a six-month hunting probation penalty after a trial for multiple charges stemming from a hunting trip in Kansas where he killed a giant buck.
Spann’s lawsuit alleges civil rights violations. The suit was filed June 5 in federal court in Nashville. He named TWRA Executive Director Ed Carter and alleges that Carter “has directed, authorized, conspired to violate and manged the violations of Mr. Spann’s constitutional rights under both The United States and Tennessee Constitutions …”
Spann also names TWRA Sgt. Dale Grandstaff, agents Shawn Karns and Brad Jackson, and “John Does 1-10” who he claims “are agents, officers, and others who have assisted the TWRA …” in his suit.
Spann’s former television show cameraman and employee, Thomas Sutherland, is included in the lawsuit. Spann alleges that Sutherland “aided, abetted, assisted, acted and conspired to violate and, in fact, did violate Mr. Spann’s constitutional rights under both The United States and Tennessee Constitutions under color of state law as an agent of TWRA while also in the employ of Mr. Spann.”
The suit alleges that Sutherland “at the direction of, and under the supervision of, the TWRA and the named TWRA agents and officers named as Defendants herein put out feed, baited fields, put illegal surveillance cameras on Mr. Spann’s property and provided false testimony and evidence against Mr. Spann in the United States District Court of Kansas at Kansas City in the case styled USA v. William Spann, case number 12-20114, on June 27, 2013.”
According to a public relations firm helping Spann, he is unavailable for interviews. Spann released the following statement:
“For the past three years, I have been rigorously targeted by TWRA agents. In 2013, I willingly accepted a six-month hunting probation based on my harvesting of a buck in Kansas after unknowingly purchasing the incorrect hunting license. As an avid outdoorsman and sportsman, I fully accepted responsibility in this matter. However, the TWRA has constantly harassed me, my family and friends – without success – in an attempt to find violations in order to end my hunting career, thus threatening my ability to make a living. Now that my family has been affected by this, I am no longer able to turn the other cheek and I look forward to the truth coming out in court.”
Among the other claims in the lawsuit, Spann alleges that “TWRA and these Defendants have spared no expense in targeting and “hunting” Mr. Spann while untold real crimes go unsolved throughout Tennessee.” It says that “TWRA exercises general police powers throughout Tennessee with total disregard for citizens’ constitutional rights with a power and profit motive and beyond its authority.”
It says TRWA, which Spann alleges is a “rogue” state agency, “conducted unreasonable searches and seizures … manufactured cases … selectively prosecuted him … spent countless man hours pursuing him … terrorizing his family, threatening his family invading his privacy and converting and destroying his property, all in hopes of charging him with a hunting violation, which they have not been able to do.”
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