LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Gary Carver claims he has been stopped or pulled over by Louisville police so often that he has for years carried a recording device with him to capture the interactions and ensure his rights are protected.
In fact, his recording of a 2012 arrest helped him get the charges dismissed by a judge who found Louisville Metro Police Department officers violated his constitutional rights and gave "contradictory testimony" of what had happened, according to court records.
The city paid Carver $96,000 in 2014 to settle a lawsuit claiming the officers had unreasonably searched, assaulted and then wrongfully arrested him.
Last March, Carver was again approached by police and he again recorded the incident.
And now he has filed another lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed this week in Jefferson Circuit Court, claims two unnamed LMPD officers approached him while he was standing outside his home waiting for a ride to work on March 4, 2019, and unlawfully searched him without reason.
After asking if they could search him, Carver told police no and was subjected to “an unwanted, unwelcome and non-consensual touching” of his body, according to the lawsuit, filed by attorney Greg Simms.
The search violated police standard operating procedures and the 4th Amendment prohibiting unlawful search and seizure, Simms said, adding that Chief Steve Conrad has let the improper searches go unpunished for years.
“Carver happens to be one of the numerous people in Louisville who has been harassed by police on multiple occasions,” Simms said. “The bigger problem we are seeking to fix is that a large portion of LMPD officers believe they can stop and frisk anyone at any time just to see if they have a weapon. That is not the law.“
LMPD does not comment on pending litigation.
Carver’s cell phone video of the incident shows two officers walk up to him in the 4500 block of Taylor Blvd., and ask where he is coming from.
Carver tells them he is standing in front of his home waiting for a ride to go to work.
An officer tells Carver they had received calls about gunshots in a neighboring trailer park. Carver tells them he knows nothing about that.
“I don’t investigate; I’m not the police or the news,” he said, according to the video. “I go to work.”
Police notice Carver is recording the interaction and tell him they are recording too.
One of the officers tells Carver they are talking to him because he is standing in an alley at 4:30 a.m. Carver responds he is there because that is when he goes to work.
When an officer asks him where he works, Carver fires back asking where the officers work.
“It’s pretty obvious isn’t it?” one officer responded. The officer then tells him he is going to check Carver and see if he has a weapon.
“No, no, no,” Carver responds. “I didn’t ask to be searched.”
“I’m not searching you,” the officer responds, saying, instead, that he is patting Carver down for a weapon. As the officer begins to pat down Carver, the video stops.
Simms, Carver’s attorney, said police turned the phone recorder off.
Carver did not have a weapon and was not charged, Simms said. The suit argues Carver did not give officers a reason to believe he was armed or dangerous.
The lawsuit claims the officers were not punished for the interaction. The suit names Conrad and an unknown officer as defendants.
Carver was unreasonably searched, held against his will without due process and deprived of his rights, according to the suit, which is seeking unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.
In the 2012 arrest, Jefferson District Court Judge Katie King listened to testimony from the officers as well as audio from a recorder Carver had with him the night of the arrest. She dismissed the charges.
One of the officers who arrested Carver was reprimanded for not turning on his cruiser video when Carver was arrested.
In that case, Carver claimed he was stopped without reasonable suspicion, searched without consent, put in a chokehold and then slammed to the ground, breaking a tooth. Simms, Carver’s attorney in that lawsuit as well, alleged that Carver identified himself and was not hostile or belligerent.
Carver was charged with disorderly conduct and interfering with an officer who was investigating a domestic violence case.
Judge King dismissed the case because the search was "prolonged, intrusive and ultimately unreasonable," according to records in that lawsuit.
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