A woman who alleges she was falsely arrested and forced to undergo a sham drug test by the Horse Cave Police Department last year is now suing the agency, making this the fourth active lawsuit against the police department.
Joanie Marie Frazier’s lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green, names as defendants the police department, its former chief Sean Henry, former officers Chris Trulock and Larry Dale Martin, Horse Cave Mayor Randall Curry and the city of Horse Cave.
Frazier alleges she was the victim of excessive force, assault, battery, false arrest, negligence, unlawful search and seizure and violation of her rights to free speech.
The lawsuit focuses on a Feb. 18, 2018, incident in which Frazier was at her residence with her fiance, Anthony Owens, her mother and her two children.
On that date, Frazier asserts she answered a knock at her door and Henry and Trulock pushed their way inside when she cracked the door open.
Police arrested Owens, claiming to have a warrant although they could not physically produce one after multiple requests, according to the lawsuit.
Frazier left the residence to get Owens’ mother, Sheila Bryant, who called Kentucky State Police.
The officers used illegal force against Bryant and handcuffed her as she attempted to record the incident on her phone, according to the lawsuit.
“After Ms. Bryant was handcuffed ... Trulock went outside and physically forcefully took Joanie’s phone out of her hands without consent or legal authority to do so,” the lawsuit said. “The officer defendants destroyed the video on Joanie’s phone.”
Frazier was arrested on charges of second-degree disorderly conduct, menacing and failure to notify address change to the department of transportation.
Her attorneys, Adrian Mendiondo and Johnny Bell, said in the lawsuit that there was no lawful basis for Frazier’s arrest and she was never advised of her right to a lawyer when officers took her to the Horse Cave Police Department.
Martin is accused in the lawsuit of attempting to coerce Frazier into making false statements about Owens and forcing her to take a drug test that consisted of her urinating onto a sheet of plastic wrap covering a toilet in the bathroom at the police station, with Martin collecting the urine into what he claimed was a “drug test” cup.
“Martin then returned to Joanie and falsely told her that he had tested the urine and that it tested positive for an illegal drug that he claimed was known as ‘spizz,’ ” the lawsuit said.
Frazier was booked into Hart County Jail, where she spent eight days, according to the lawsuit.
According to court records, she pleaded guilty to the menacing count and was fined $250 and given a seven-day suspended sentence.
Bell filed a motion in January to set aside the guilty plea, contending that Frazier was unlawfully arrested and her guilty plea was not knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily entered.
“The officer defendants’ actual basis for arresting and charging Joanie was to retaliate against her and punish her for getting Ms. Bryant after they arrested Mr. Owens, for assisting Ms. Bryant in calling the Kentucky State Police to report their unlawful actions and for opposing and protesting their unlawful arrest of Mr. Owens and search of Joanie’s home,” the lawsuit said.
This is the fourth active federal lawsuit against the police department, joining a civil action filed by Owens in November relating to the same incident and two others filed in January.
In one of the lawsuits, Trulock is accused of planting methamphetamine on two people arrested in separate incidents, resulting in felony criminal charges against the two people that were eventually dismissed.
A fifth lawsuit brought by someone who claimed to have been falsely detained was voluntarily dismissed last year.
The Horse Cave Police Department was the subject of an investigation by the FBI and Kentucky State Police earlier last year, with investigators executing a search warrant at police headquarters.
The headquarters building was closed for two days, during which time the Hart County Sheriff’s Office and KSP provided police coverage on an as-needed basis.
The city fired Martin last year and placed Henry and Trulock on indefinite leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Attorneys for the former officers, Curry and the city have denied most of the allegations in the lawsuits and have asked for them to be dismissed.