Former Chinese restaurant owners file suit against LMPD - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Former Chinese restaurant owners file suit against LMPD

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The owners of a Chinese restaurant once charged with human trafficking are now suing the Louisville Metro Police Department and an LMPD officer.

The case has taken a sharp turn since last May as the owners of the former Golden Palace Buffet said they are suing to rebuild their reputation.

“Defamation, I mean clearly they were branded with a bad name,” said attorney Thomas Hectus.

In May the owners of the former restaurant were charged with human trafficking. A court has since determined there was no probable cause for the charges, so they have been dropped.

“Meaning that there wasn't a reasonable basis to have arrested these people in the first instance. And in fact, there wasn't because these people in fact did not commit any crime, let alone human trafficking,” said Hectus.

Righting that wrong could come in the form of two lawsuits from Ming Wen Chen and Zhi Xiang Jiang.

In the suit filed November 24, 2014 against Michael Pawul, a member of LMPD, the plaintiffs claim wrongful arrest, malicious prosecution, defamation, and false light, and seek damages for economic loss.

“All their assets were seized, they didn't have any operating capital to run their restaurant, they ended up having to close their restaurant.”

The owners of the former restaurant are also suing the Louisville Metro Police Department, which alleged they illegally staffed their restaurant and kept employees in a small room in the basement. Hectus said some of the employees did live in the basement rent-free, but were never forced to be there.

“All of the rooms had windows, unlocked without bars, they had a key to come and go.”

The second suit seeks to obtain records from LMPD in the case that have been previously requested under the Open Records Act.

LMPD did not want to comment on the lawsuits.

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