Lawsuit: Shively police harassing bar, trying to close it down
LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) – A federal lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a local bar against the Shively Police Department and one officer, among others, claiming police are targeting and harassing the bar's owners, employees and customers to put it out of business.
The attorneys for 7th Street Bar & Grill, located in the 2700 block of 7th Street Road, claim one officer, Edward Edbrooke, has parked outside the bar and told white potential customers not to go in, copied down license plate numbers, parked near customers to “intimidate them” and broke into the bar at 4:45 a.m. on Jan. 14.
Edbrooke, according to the suit, beat and kicked on the front door that morning and then pried it open before when he was not allowed in, writing a “bogus citation” for business hours violation, according to the suit. Employees were inside but had refused to open the door for Edbrooke because a manager was not present, the suit claims. The citation was later dismissed.
This incident was caught on camera, and Edbrooke did not have a warrant to enter the bar, according to the suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court.
Edbrooke was not working today and could not be reached for comment. A Shively Police Department spokesman did not immediately return a phone call.
In addition, the bar, which opened in 2015 and sells food, alcohol and tobacco through hookahs, was fined $10,000 in April 2017 for allegedly selling alcohol after hours and conducting business with minors. The owner, Alex Lokoka, denied this allegation in the suit but says the fine was paid to “avoid being shut down for weeks and weeks.”
The suit claims Officer Edbrooke told bar employees it was his goal to “shut this place down.”
In March, the bar again was cited for being open after hours. Lokoka “could take no more harassment” and is fighting this charges, the suit claims. A hearing was scheduled for this week.
“In a free society, businesses should be able to operate within the local communities free from harassment from government interference and corruption,” according to the suit. “Unlike in the developing world where bribes are a way of life for business people, business (owners) in the United States do not have to ‘grease the wheels’ of government officials to do business.”
The suit is requesting a judge issue a restraining order against Edbrooke, the Shively Alcohol Beverage Control administrator and the city of Shively, all named as defendants. And the suit is seeking unspecified monetary damages.
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