Ex-girlfriend of Jason Reid preparing lawsuit against county over GPS tracking device

Lawsuit likely in alleged stalking case

NEWTON, NC (WBTV) - The ex-girlfriend of former Catawba County Sheriff's Office Captain Jason Reid is preparing to file a lawsuit against the county and the sheriff's office, her attorney told WBTV on Monday.

Charlotte Attorney Walter Bowers represents the woman, who spoke exclusively with WBTV in April, before the criminal investigation into Jason Reid was publicly known.

At the time, the woman told WBTV she found a GPS tracking device under the bumper of her car after receiving text messages from Reid over the period of several months detailing her location.

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She said she found the device after Reid sent her a picture of her car parked at her current location.

"I never thought I would find a tracker on my car so I don't know what he's capable of doing," she said in the interview.

Reid was indicted in June on two felony charges and three misdemeanors stemming from the allegations he used a GPS tracking device from the sheriff's office to keep tabs on his ex-girlfriend.

He has denied any wrongdoing and is currently out of jail on a $10,000 bond.

Bowers sent a letter to Catawba County Manager Mick Berry and Randall Isenhower, Chairman of the Catawba County Board of Commissioners in May.

A copy of the letter provided to WBTV by county staff in response to a public records request does not demand a specific amount of money to settle any potential legal claim but does lay out a legal argument for why the woman was legally harmed by the county. Specifically, the letter claims the county could be held liable for negligent intentional infliction of emotional distress.

"After reviewing the evidence of the claims against you, we believe our client has been unfairly treated in violation of the law," the letter said. "As stated, our goal is to amicably settle this matter in a far and just say, without the necessity of litigation. However, if we are unable to reasonably resolve this matter without litigation, we are fully prepared to move forward to the litigation phase to adequately protect the rights of our client and allow our legal system to ensure that justice is carried out in this matter."

A spokeswoman for the county provided a one-page letter from County Attorney Deborah Bechtel that she said constituted the county's response. The letter does not include any substantive response. But Bowers told WBTV the county's position is that it is not liable for any alleged conduct by Reid outside the scope of his duties as a deputy sheriff.

"They're trying to distance themselves from something he did or might have done," Bowers told WBTV on Monday.

The county spokeswoman declined to provide any additional comment for this story.

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