Lee County sheriff accused of arresting man trying to serve him with subpoena

SANFORD, NC (WTVD) -- A federal judge has issued a restraining order against Lee County Sheriff Tracey Carter in what may be an unprecedented case in North Carolina.

It started when a 71-year-old investigator for a Raleigh attorney's office tried to serve the sheriff with a subpoena in a civil suit against the department.

The investigator alleges he went to Carter's home, but no one came to the door. As he was leaving, he claims the sheriff came out, blocked his truck, and then Carter's deputies showed up to arrest him for trespassing.

Raleigh attorney Kieran Shanahan convinced federal judge Terrence Boyle that the arrest was actually an attempt to obstruct the service of subpoenas. Boyle signed a restraining order against the sheriff and his deputies who are being forced to testify in the upcoming civil trial.

"In the environment we live in now where police are under scrutiny for acting out and misbehaving you would think that a sheriff in North Carolina would comply with the law and accept simple service of a piece of paper," said Shanahan.

Shanahan told ABC11 he believes a federal restraining order against a North Carolina sheriff may be unprecedented.

"I don't think a federal judge would have done such a thing if he didn't also share my concern about a sheriff who's confused between enforcing the law and thinking they are above the law," he said.

ABC11 reached out to Sheriff Carter for his side of the story, but we were referred to the Lee County Attorney. We were told there would be no comment.

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