AP: 5 Kentucky players sue Lexington police over 2021 arrests; Is LPD out of control?

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

Reuben Adams, Jutahn McClain, Vito Tisdale, Joel Williams and Andru Phillips allege in lawsuits that officer Cory Vinlove knew probable cause did not exist to charge them and “embarked on a journey” to frame them for a crime they didn’t commit. The suits filed in U.S. 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 the 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 caused by corrupt policing in America.”

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

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

Our Take

These new allegations come on the heels of a slew of other misconduct allegations agains the Lexington Police Department. Is the department out of control?