5 Kentucky players sue Lexington police over arrests in 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) – Five of six Kentucky football players cleared by a grand jury last year on theft charges…

LEXINGTON, Kentucky (AP) – Five of six Kentucky football players cleared by a grand jury last year on theft charges have sued a Lexington police officer who led the investigation of a March 2021 incident at a private off-campus party. .

Reuben Adams, Jutahn McClain, Vito Tisdale, Joel Williams and Andru Phillips all claim in lawsuits that officer Cory Vinlove knew there was no probable cause to charge them and “embarked on a journey” to frame them for a crime they didn’t commit. The lawsuits filed in US District Court also name Officer Donnell Gordon, Police Chief Lawrence Weathers and the Lexington-Fayette County Urban Government as defendants.

Only Tisdale, who is injured, McClain and Phillips remain with No. 8 Wildcats.

Attorney Elliot Slosar of Chicago-based civil rights firm Loevy & Loevy said in a statement that the lawsuit is “another tragic example of the damage done by corrupt policing in the United States.”

“As the lawsuits demonstrate, these five young black men were targeted by a white officer with an ax to grind and determined to make a name for himself,” added Slosar, one of four lawyers listed in the players’ complaints.

The players, including Earnest Sanders IV, were charged in August 2021 with first-degree robbery. Tisdale also faced a first-degree disrespectful threat charge for allegedly pointing a gun at one of the victims.

A grand jury in Fayette County declined to indict all the charges last September and the players returned after being suspended from team activities while their cases were pending.

Players seek unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, along with attorney fees. A message left Wednesday night with Lexington police was not immediately returned.

The lawsuits claim Vinlove sought to “promote his own career” and fabricated false accusations ahead of the Southeast Conference media day to maximize embarrassment for the University of Kentucky and its players.

“Make no mistake, the pursuit of defendants (individual players) and others was never a search for the truth,” the lawsuits state, adding that the evidence was “false, flimsy and fabricated.”

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