Louisville Settles Racial Discrimination Lawsuit with Couple After 2018 Traffic Stop on False Pretenses That Led to Elaborate Search, But Turned Up Nothing

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A Louisville, Kentucky, couple has been granted a $75,000 settlement from the city after they accused the Louisville Metro Police Department of pulling them over and searching their vehicle because they were a Black couple driving a nice car.

Anthony Parker Sr. and his then-girlfriend Demetria Firman were pulled over in their Chevrolet Monte Carlo by an LMPD officer from the Ninth Mobile Division in the city’s West End on their way home from church on Aug. 12, 2018 and accused of not using their turn signal, which bodycam footage later proved untrue.

WDRB screengrab
WDRB screengrab

After being stopped, the now-married couple, who also had Parker’s 9-year-old son in the car, was “surrounded by officers from the Ninth Mobile Division — blocked in by unmarked vehicles behind and in front of them — questioned, removed from the car, and frisked while police thoroughly searched inside the car and trunk,” according to court records obtained by the WDRB News.

“This is how we conduct all our stops,” Officer Josh Doerr said to Firman in his bodycam video after she was frisked in her church dress and asked if “something was wrong.” “We’re a different kind of unit that works a little different than traditional,” he added.

The three we re eventually released and not ticketed, which according to the lawsuit, happed after officers realized that Firman and Parker were “ personal acquaintances with a colleague of the officers.”

The family filed a federal discrimination lawsuit in 2019, claiming that the reason they were stopped was based on appearances and because they were driving “in a designated target neighborhood of LMPD.”

On Sept. 9 the city awarded them $75,000 on the condition that Parker and Firman refrain from disparaging officers or the Metro Government, including in the media and on social media, and that the Metro Government acknowledges no wrongdoing.

Officer Doerr was suspended for one day for “violating pat-down procedures when he searched Firman without consent of proper authority.”

No other officers who arrived at the scene received any repercussions, however, one, Kevin Crawford, has since resigned after being named in multiple lawsuits, including that of Black teenager Tae-Ahn Lea, who had similar accusations of being stopped and handcuffed for being a Black teenager.