SWAT Team Protocols Again Challenged in Court

by scrosby on June 7, 2010

by Stephanie Crosby

For the second time in four months, a lawsuit has been filed challenging the protocols of Louisville’s SWAT team. A lawsuit filed today in Jefferson Circuit Court alleges Louisville police acted improperly in a SWAT team raid at a strip club, Phat’s Bar and Grill, formerly of West Broadway, while searching for evidence on possible prostitution and drug charges.

The plaintiffs’ co-counsel, Fox deMoisey, says the lawsuit alleges several improper actions, such as unreasonably restraining employees, confiscating $30,000, and attempting to turn off security cameras.

He says the larger question of the suit, though, is if the actions of SWAT teams in general are legal.

“The problem is, like any governmental function, there’s a proper function to this, there are times when SWAT teams are appropriate to be utilized,” says deMoisey, “but they’re being way over-utilized and they’re being introduced in circumstances that do not warrant that kind of force.”

Another part of the suit claims LMPD failed to properly train their officers on the SWAT team. LMPD has not responded to calls for comment.

A separate lawsuit filed in March also alleges the SWAT acted too severely in a raid in June of 2007 in Okolona.

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