LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- With weapons drawn, Louisville Metro Police SWAT officers raided a home last July to serve a warrant on an alleged drug suspect, but instead, they handcuffed a man hired to paint the vacant house, his girlfriend and her 10-year-old daughter, a lawsuit claims.
In fact, the suit alleges, LMPD officers had already searched the home in the 100 block of Amherst Avenue near Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport 10 days earlier and arrested the person they were looking for -- and who was still in custody at the time of the July 15, 2019, raid.
Roy Stucker had been hired as an independent contractor to work on the house for a new tenant when at least 10 officers raided the home in the Southside neighborhood “in military fashion,” shooting objects through windows and breaking in with weapons drawn, the lawsuit claims.
The house had been empty for days, with furniture outside on the curb and Stucker’s painting truck sitting in front, according to the suit.
Stucker and his girlfriend, Courtney Brown-Porter, initially believed they were being robbed and feared they would be killed, the suit claims. The couple and Brown-Porter’s daughter were allegedly handcuffed for about 20 minutes.
The suit, filed in Jefferson Circuit Court on Tuesday against the city and police, argues LMPD could have easily verified that the target of the investigation had already been arrested and was in custody.
Nathaniel Boyington was arrested at the home on drug trafficking charges on July 5, 2019, according to court records.
The couple's attorney, Josh Rose, claims the city has refused to provide the search warrant affidavit used by police to conduct the raid.
“This is yet another example of search warrants being issued and served without justification and in a dangerous manner," Rose said in an email. "This is a systemic issue at LMPD that goes deeper than simply banning no-knock warrants or disciplining officers. The policies need to be overhauled and LMPD demilitarized.”
The city and police department are already under intense scrutiny and criticism for the warrant served in March at the home of Breonna Taylor, who was shot five times by police and killed. No drugs were found at Taylor's home.
Rose said there is body cam video of the incident in the recent lawsuit, but what he received from police was heavily redacted, and he is trying to get an unaltered version.
An LMPD spokesman did not immediately return a message seeking comment. The department does not typically comment on pending litigation.
The suit claims the family was unlawfully imprisoned and is seeking a jury trial and unspecified monetary damages.
Rose has a similar pending lawsuit against police and the city he filed last year on behalf of a Louisville couple who say they were getting their three kids ready for school when 14 Louisville Metro Police SWAT officers raided their home, smashing through the front door, using explosive devices and holding the family at gunpoint.
The reason for that raid: A detective claimed he smelled marijuana coming from outside the West Chestnut Street home on separate occasions and believed someone was growing and selling marijuana inside, according to a search warrant.
That lawsuit claims there was no probable cause for a raid, that the search warrant included false information, and police misconduct created a situation that “very easily could have resulted in the death of a parent or child for no good reason.”
In fact, a man and woman named in the search warrant affidavit and described as growing and selling marijuana did not live at the home, information that could have easily been discovered by police, according to the suit.
The couple who owns the home, Ashlea Burr and Mario Daugherty - a local artist whose work has been featured at the Kentucky Derby Museum and on local news - were not growing or selling marijuana, the suit says. WDRB News could not find any charges from the raid in court records.
This story may be updated.
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