A Black couple will receive $75,000 from the city of Louisville after they claimed cops pulled them over in 2018 and searched them because they were Black and driving a nice car. The catch is that they can’t say a word about it.
According to the Louisville Courier Journal, Anthony Parker Sr. and Demetria Firman, who have since gotten married, agreed to “not to make or direct anyone to make any statements, written or verbal with the intention to defame, disparage or in any way criticize the personal or business reputation, practices or conduct of Metro Government” or former Chief Steve Conrad and the officers involved in the case “as it pertains to the underlying facts of this action.”
That means no statements to news media or on social media, the Courier Journal notes.
“The city is paying to silence its critics,” Michael Abate, a lawyer for the Courier Journal and the Kentucky Press Association, said. “It is paying them off. And it seems designed to impede reform. It is bad policy and really troubling.”
According to a federal lawsuit the couple filed in 2019, they were pulled over for failing to switch on their turn signal. But bodycam footage from one of the cops involved in the stop shows that the signal was on. The couple said they were headed home from church with their 9-year-old son when the cops stopped and frisked them in a “desperate attempt by the officers to find guns and drugs.”
Of course, they didn’t find anything.
The only reason Firman was allowed to go was because she and Parker knew a colleague of the officers, according to the lawsuit.
Here is more from the Courier Journal:
The city agreed to the settlement Sept. 9, with the stipulation the Metro Government acknowledged no wrongdoing.
The suit was filed by attorney Sam Aguiar, Lonita Baker and Josephine Buckner, who did not respond to requests for comment. It is unclear whether that was because of the prohibitions in the settlement.
Aguiar and Baker also represented the family of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old emergency room technician who police fatally shot in her apartment while attempting to serve a search warrant. The city settled with Taylor’s family for $12 million.
The attorneys wrote in traffic-stop lawsuit that the couple was pulled over “because they are Black, were in a nice car and were in a designated target neighborhood of LMPD.”
The lawsuit is one of several filed against the city stemming from the tactics of the 9th Mobile Division, which pulled over Black drivers in the West End in an attempt to find firearms as part of an anti-violence campaign.
LMPD revised the strategy soon after The Courier Journal documented how it detained teenage Tae-Ahn Lea for nearly 25 minutes after he was stopped for reportedly making a wide turn.
His suit against the city is still pending.
Two of the officers involved in stopping Parker and Firman — Kevin Crawford and Gabriel Hellard — also were involved in pulling over Lea.
This is some bullshit all around.
The couple said in their lawsuit that when Firman asked what the couple had done wrong, Officer Josh Doerr replied: “This is how we conduct all our stops. We’re a different kind of unit that works a little different than traditional.”
Doerr was given a slap on the wrist—a day’s suspension for violating pat-down procedures, but none of the other cops were disciplined.
No ticket was issued.