Follow the WDRB Newsroom, Reporters and Anchors.More >>
Tweets from the WDRB Newsroom, Reporters and Anchors.More >>
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville Metro Police officer is charged with official misconduct and accused of ordering a woman to strip and allegedly fondling her breasts during two separate incidents, court documents state.
The two incidents happened months apart. Officer Joe Burden entered a not guilty plea Wednesday to one count of official misconduct. The first allegation stems from an alleged incident that took place on Oct. 14, 2012.
According to a criminal citation, 41-year-old Joe Burden was on a run when he detained a witness and told her there was a warrant for her arrest. There was no such warrant, according to the complaint.
When the other officers left the scene, Burden allegedly told the witness to pull her pants down, acting "as if he had the authority to request this," the court record states.
The witness complied, according to the complaint.
The woman spoke to WDRB News on Wednesday but asked not to be identified. "He told me to shake my shirt and my bra, then he made me unzip my pants. I thought maybe he though I had a weapon," said the woman, who we called "Jane."
She claims the incident continued for about 20 minutes, with Burden claiming she had an outstanding warrant. "He said 'well you need to pull your pants down' and I was stunned... and I did."
Burden allegedly told the woman that other officers wanted her to go to jail, but he released her. When the woman got home, she called her attorney and told him what happened.
Immediately after the incident, authorities say Burden called the woman on her cell phone and asked to see her, but she declined the invitation, telling him she was already in a relationship. She then called the LMPD Public Integrity Unit and filed a complaint, and an investigation was opened.
On Dec. 11, 2012, the woman participated in a undercover investigation of Burden. She agreed to meet with him in the parking lot of the Walmart near Greenbelt Hwy. and Terry Rd. to discuss fines she owed on a speeding ticket. Burden then allegedly told her to follow him to nearby Riverside Garden Park. While there, authorities say Burden asked her to get out of her car and asked if he could grope her.
He then allegedly placed both hands under her shirt. That's when personnel from the LMPD Public Integrity Unit approached him.
The woman described it this way: "I knew the public integrity unit was right there. So when he tried to go in and fondle my breasts and that's when I said 'No, I'm not okay with that.'"
The woman told WDRB News that she is now fearful, sometimes scared to leave her house and ashamed by the incidents. She claims she spoke to the county attorney's office last week, telling them she wished Burden were no longer an officer.
"I've been scared for my safety and scared for my daughters' safety," the woman said.
Burden appeared before a judge at 9 a.m. on May 22 to answer for a charge of first-degree official misconduct. While there, he was served a criminal summons. He is currently on home incarceration, according to court sources.
An LMPD spokesman says Burden was on paid administrative duty.
A WDRB News reporter stopped by Burden's home, but no one answered the door. The reporter then called a number listed on a court file for Burden. A man who answered simply said 'hello,' but hung up after the reporter began to question him.
LMPD Police Chief Steve Conrad said he could not comment on the matter because of the ongoing investigation.