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Report: Family To Sue Police Over Tea Party Attorney's Suicide

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AP Photo / Rogelio V. Solis

The family of the attorney, Mark Mayfield, argues that Madison police trespassed on Mayfield's house when they came after he shot himself. The family also said that there were political motivations for Mayfield's arrest in May. Mayfield was one of three men arrested in connection to a political blogger going to the nursing home of the wife of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and photographing her for to use in an anti-Cochran video. Mayfield was a supporter of Cochran's challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R).

"It's the highest degree of abuse of power," Mayfield's nephew, Ridgeland Alderman Wesley Hamlin, said.

Attorney John Reeves, Mayfield's brother-in-law, and Hamlin said the family is considering the suit because of Mayfield's life seemed to spiral after his arrest.

"He was so shocked at being accused of something he didn't do, and Cochran used his arrest photo in a political ad," Reeves told the Clarion-Ledger. "Mark was a transactional lawyer —loan closings, title work— for three banks in the Jackson area. On the day his picture was in the paper, all three banks called him and said, 'Mark, you're fired.' That devastated him. He lost his business. He had to let his secretaries go."

Reeves also said that the Madison police went too far with Mayfield's arrest at his office, saying the police "sent six police officers down there, flung open the door, scared the secretary, guns out and they cuffed him, put him in a holding tank…They treated him like a criminal."

Madison Police Department Assistant Chief Robert Sanders, however, refutes that version of events, saying that one investigator and a warrants officer as well as a Hinds County deputy were the only ones involved in Mayfield's arrest. No guns were drawn, according to Sanders.

When the Clarion-Ledger asked Sanders about rumors that a SWAT team stood by for Mayfield's arrest, Sanders countered: "There was no SWAT team, nor was any SWAT team on standby at any time."

The family also argued the amount at which his bond was set ($250,000) was too high.

"I've been an attorney for 32 years, and they don't set drug dealers' bonds that high," Reeves said.