Protesters sue LMPD after SWAT truck hit vehicle in June during demonstration
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A lawsuit has been filed by two protesters who were arrested after an LMPD SWAT truck hit a Jeep during a June 30 caravan protest.
Originally, LMPD released a statement about the night’s events saying the SWAT truck was rammed by a protester’s vehicle, only to walk it back the next day, saying SWAT hit the protester.
The protester driving and a protester recording video now both face felonies.
“If they’re [LMPD] willing to lie once, they’re willing to lie a second time,” Attorney Ashlea Hellmann said.
Hellman and Maria Fernandez are representing the protesters charged in the incident, Cortezz Dickerson and MacKenzie Kraps, who they say were trying to get out of the city like police were telling them to.
WAVE 3 News first spoke with Kraps right after she was bailed out of jail. At the time, she was more worried about Dickerson, who is a combat veteran with PTSD. She filmed a Facebook Live video capturing the aftermath of the crash, which is the only public video of the incident.
Hellman says LMPD’s corrected version of what went down is completely false, saying there is a surveillance video from a nearby Chase Bank to prove it.
”If this narrative that LMPD is now putting out was true, they would be releasing that video in a heartbeat, but they’re not. And they denied open records request to do so,” Hellman said.
LMPD said a SWAT truck did hit Dickerson’s Jeep, but only because it was about to drive onto the sidewalk, endangering others, in an attempt to get away from officers and that it matched descriptions of another vehicle that hit a cruiser.
”Nobody had asked them to stop, nobody gave them any sirens,” Hellman said.
Hellman said the impact forced Dickerson’s Jeep from the road up on to the sidewalk. She says he was only trying to turn around in the Chase Bank’s lot, off of Jefferson Street and onto Liberty, trying to get home and out of a mentally triggering area.
LMPD said Dickerson was not alone in the Jeep and that a man, named Alpintino Johnson, armed with a stolen AK-47 fled from the Jeep. He was arrested shortly after.
However, Hellman says Dickerson was alone in the Jeep and Johnson was arrested much later in the night, in a different location from the crash.
“It doesn’t cite him, on his own citation, being a Mr. Dickerson’s vehicle or being involved in, even in the protest caravan,” Hellman said.
Kraps says she and her passenger were also trying to turn around in the Chase parking lot when they saw the SWAT vehicle sideswipe another protester’s car. That’s when Hellman says she paused and saw the crash with Dickerson and guns were drawn on him as he was being arrested. She said she started filming out of fear for Dickerson and tried to get his name for bail when officers told her to get back in the car.
”She very clearly gets in the car and within seconds, LMPD is running up on her and yanking her back out,” Hellman said. “She didn’t have an opportunity to try to leave at all.”
On her arrest slip it says Kraps nearly hit a detective with her car and was refusing to leave, kicking the officer trying to arrest her. Kraps said she was trying to block baton blows, not hurt the officer.
Hellman adds that Kraps’ car was immediately towed and impounded, leaving her passenger to walk home by themselves at night.
”No matter how many lame responses, excuses, do-overs that have been put out by LMPD, none of them are true,” attorney Maria Fernandez said. “Until those videos come out, that Chase Bank video, the truth is not out there and their reputations have been sullied.”
Hellman and Fernandez say it’s been difficult to get the information needed for their case and that LMPD didn’t write up an accident report.
LMPD doesn’t comment on pending litigation, but Hellman says the Public Integrity Unit is investigating.
Read the lawsuit below.
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