LMPD VIPER Officer Carl Payne (Source: Hardin County Detention Center)
Chaka Murrell has accused Payne of sending her inappropriate texts, photographs and video after he arrested her. (Source: LMDC)
Lt. Kit Steimle
Officer Carl Payne (Source: LMPD)
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The commander of an elite police unit and one of its detectives are off the job and on leave thanks to two pending investigations.
A Louisville Metro Police spokesman said the investigations into Lt. Kit Steimle and Det. Carl Payne are not related. One is an internal, administrative one. The other is the type that could result in potential criminal charges.
That second investigation is into Detective Payne. In June 2013, Payne got into a crash on his motorcycle and was charged with DUI. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four days in jail and a 120 day suspended license.
Far more serious is what a search warrant says happened after an arrest Payne made with the Metro Police VIPER unit.
According to the warrant, Payne arrested Chaka Murrell in April for trafficking in a controlled substance. She was in a home where officers say they found crack cocaine packaged for sale. Afterward, Murrell said Payne started sending her sexually explicit texts, pictures and videos. The warrant says investigators actually saw the messages on Murrell's phone.
Payne answered the number the messages came from when WAVE 3 News called it. He referred questions to his lawyer.
"Obviously we're aware that an allegation has been made and that it's being investigated and we fully cooperated with that investigation," said Brian Butler, Payne's lawyer. "It is our hope that when all is said and done, this will not result in any sort of criminal charge."
Butler continued, "Officer Payne has been in narcotics - actually worked for a VIPER unit, but they do a lot of narcotics - is one of Louisville Metro Police's finest detectives. He's made many, many cases for the department over the years and he's done it the right way."
For some reason, the search warrant on Payne, dated February 5, 2014, was not served.
LMPD said it couldn't comment on the investigation other than to say that Payne is on leave as it plays out. A spokesman said the department was also aware of the DUI and Payne was disciplined.
Payne's VIPER commander is also on leave. Metro police said Steimle is under an internal Professional Standards Unit investigation but wouldn't say why.
The VIPER unit formed in the fall of 2012 to target violent crime and repeat offenders in Louisville.