EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — Multiple allegations and a lawsuit have been filed against an Evansville Police Department officer after a nonprofit accused him of a nonconsensual detention and search.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana is suing Officer M. Taylor and accuse him of detaining an individual without cause and conducting an invasive vehicle search and pat-down search, in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
The lawsuit states Kendra Owen, an Uber driver, parked legally in downtown Evansville while she waited for a potential fare the night of January 14.
According to the complaint, Officer Taylor initiated a stop without probable cause or reasonable suspicion of any kind.
The ACLU says Owen declined to give identification to Officer Taylor knowing that she had done nothing wrong. Officer Taylor allegedly ordered Owen to get out of her car and conducted a non-consensual pat-down search.
According to the ACLU’s complaint, the officer then issued her a citation, searched inside her vehicle without consent and had her vehicle towed.
“Drivers do not, and should not, expect to be treated as suspects without any reason,” said Gavin M. Rose, ACLU of Indiana Senior Staff Attorney. “This is a gross violation of the Fourth Amendment and law enforcement across the state of Indiana needs to be aware that this is something that simply cannot be done in accordance with our Constitution.”
EPD Sgt. Anna Gray issued this statement Thursday afternoon after news broke of the lawsuit.
“The Evansville Police Department has been made aware of a lawsuit that has been filed by the ACLU of Indiana against one of our EPD officers. We do fully support our officer’s actions. Due to this being an active litigation, we cannot make any further statements about this incident at this time. We have had numerous requests for the officer’s body cam videos and we are providing those videos on the Evansville Police Department Facebook page.”
The Evansville Police Department also shared body camera footage from the incident on social media.
“You’re also parked outside a bank, with your vehicle running, and it’s just kind of random,” said Officer M. Taylor in body cam footage. “So just, checking on the area”.
Officer Taylor also said that it wasn’t a traffic stop, it was an “investigatory stop”.
The full body cam footage can be watched on the EPD social media page by clicking here. The full complaint against Officer M. Taylor can be found below.