A long-time Indiana University law professor and his wife are suing the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and one its officers over a 2016 traffic stop. Kevin Brown says the officer involved violated several of the couple’s constitutional rights.
The traffic stop occurred just outside of downtown Indianapolis as Brown and his wife were traveling home to Bloomington from Ohio.
Court documents indicate Officer Emily Perkins pulled them over for several alleged traffic violations around 9 p.m. But Brown, who was driving, continued driving until he found what he thought to be a safe exit, where he could pull over. Brown says Perkins approached the vehicle agitated, yelling at the couple, and with what Brown says appeared to be a drawn weapon.
Brown says he attempted to explain why he didn't stop immediately, but says Perkins put him and his wife in handcuffs. An IMPD Seargant eventually arrived on the scene, who Brown says apologized to the couple and had them taken out of the handcuffs. But Brown was eventually put back in handcuffs and informed he was being taken into custody.
Court documents claim they never told Brown why he was being arrested, or read him his rights.
Brown says Perkins needs to be held accountable for her actions.
"There's very few African Americans who are in a position that I am, that is a law professor that has enough knowledge about the law and enough money and enough contacts to carry on a fight like this, so I really do feel like I have an obligation to do it," Brown says."There are a lot of black people out there having problems with the police, and it comes down to an issue of their credibiliity compared to the police officer's credibility."
Perkins filed a Probable Cause Affidavit following the traffic stop, which according to court documents, contradicts many of Brown’s claims. It says Brown was speeding and making unsafe lane changes.
The incident led to several criminal charges. Brown pleaded guilty to changing lanes without a turn signal and the remaining charges were dropped.
Brown says his traffic stop highlights several issues in today's justice system, including the fact that officers at the Indianapolis police department aren't wearing body cameras.
"We would have at least had some film of what occurred had Officer Perkins not taken my wife’s cell phone away from her, because that’s what she was going to do was video tape what was going on," Brown says.
IMPD officials have pointed to cost as a reason for not using body cameras.
IMPD declined to comment on the pending litigation.
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