Lawsuit against LMPD officers claims abuse at Gentleman's Academ - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Lawsuit against LMPD officers claims abuse at Gentleman's Academy

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A lawsuit filed against three LMPD officers claims they physically and verbally abused youth taking part in the Gentleman's Academy.

The suit names Officer Clayton Reeves, Officer Jonathan Hardin, and Colonel Yvette Gentry. Colonel Gentry served as the Director of the Academy.

“Parents sign their kids over to LMPD to be in safe hands and they let them down. They failed them,” said Erica Buckner, who served as the Mental Health Program Director for the Gentleman's Academy.

The program was sponsored by LMPD and the University of Louisville Center for Mental Health Disparities.

The goal of the program was to help troubled youth avoid negative paths in life, but some claim the officers took it too far.

“They were rousted out of bed at 3 o'clock in the morning, made to do pushups for a couple of hours, then compelled to run laps. They weren't given water,” said attorney Thomas Clay.

In the lawsuit, a 14-year-old claims he was "hit, pushed, and slapped" and was cursed and yelled at.

Erica Buckner served as the Mental Health Program Director for the Academy.

“I apologize for all of the incidents that happened at the Gentleman's Academy, because it was not - this physical abuse, the boot camp like nature, was not a part of the intention of the program,” said Erica Buckner.

She says she'd like to see the program happen again next year with new leadership.

Attorney Thomas Clay claims the program didn't help those that needed it, including his client, who he says is now fearful of police.

“He's scared to the death to the point where he's sleeping under his bed or in the closet and one of these (officers) is assigned to the school where he is enrolled currently and he is terrified of him,” said Thomas Clay.

Clay says they've reported the alleged incidents to Child Protective Services.

LMPD officials say they cannot comment due to pending litigation.

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