Louisville Pays Black Couple $75K to Not Criticize Cops Over Traffic Stop

In Summary

A Black couple wrongfully pulled over by Louisville Metro Police while leaving church has been awarded a settlement of $75,000 in what some people may consider “hush money.” 

The city of Louisville has agreed to pay $75,000 to a couple who was pulled over and searched by authorities in August 2018 for allegedly failing to use a turn signal while driving home from church—but there’s a catch, per WDRB News’ Jason Riley

In an unusual stipulation of the settlement and what some may consider a bribe, the Louisville Metro Government admits no wrongdoing. Plaintiffs Anthony Parker, his 9-year-old son and girlfriend Demetria Firman, as well as their attorneys, are prohibited from publicly disparaging the police officers involved, whether in person or on social media. 

RELATED: Justice Department announces investigation into Louisville Police Department

Parker and Firman alleged in a lawsuit they were wrongfully stopped by police because they were Black and driving a luxury car “in a designated target neighborhood of LMPD.” The couple was taken out of the vehicle and frisked. They were eventually released without being issued a ticket. 

Kevin Crawford and Gabriel Hellard, two of the officers in the case, were also reportedly involved in pulling over a teenager by the name of Tae-Ahn Lea in the same month for making a wide turn. 

“The city is paying to silence its critics,” said Michael Abate, a lawyer for The Courier Journal and the Kentucky Press Association, per Louisville Courier Journal. “It is paying them off. And it seems designed to impede reform. It is bad policy and really troubling.” 

Attorneys Sam Aguiar, Lonita Baker and Josephine Buckner filed the traffic stop lawsuit in April 2019. Aguiar and Baker also represented the family of Breonna Taylor in a dispute that resulted in a $12 million settlement with the city. 

RELATED: Black man awarded $750K for 44 years of wrongful imprisonment

Law and Crime’s Marisa Sarnoff says the settlement “closes at least one chapter in LMPD’s beleaguered history,” referring to the March 2020 raid in which officers fatally shot Taylor, a Black medical worker, in her apartment following a botched search warrant execution. The department is also facing additional troubles, including a US Department of Justice inquiry into the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government and LMPD’s use-of-force tactics.

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