Motel owner charged with assaulting undercover officer posing as prostitute

MEMPHI, TN - (WMC-TV) – Memphis police say Gopal Govan, who has owned the Super 8 Motel on Lamar Avenue since 1995, assaulted an undercover female police officer posing as a prostitute.

Two other officers were watching the scene off property and report Govan told the undercover officer, who he thought was a real prostitute, to get off his property.

When the undercover officer moved to the sidewalk the police affidavit says Govan still drove towards the victim more than once and finally forced the undercover cop to jump into the grass.

The officer claims her hand was hit by the vehicle at some point during the incident.

When asked by Action News 5 if he ever touched the undercover officer, Govan replied, "No, I did not."  He also claims he never touched the officer with his vehicle.

The motel owner says had he known the woman was an undercover officer, he wouldn't have been as persistent that she leave the property.

Prostitution has been a problem in the area for a long time and Govan says he won't tolerate it at his motel.

Memphis Police Association president, Michael Williams says he empathizes with business owners trying to protect their property, but urges residents to use more caution.

"He was looking out for his business but at the same time you can't take the law into your own hands," said Michael Williams the President of the Memphis Police Association.  "He should have actually called the police and had them to come and deal with the young lady."

MPD has released a statement saying, in part, "Undercover operations can be dangerous at times, but like all police work, it is necessary in order to keep our community safe."

The motel owner is charged with two counts of aggravated assault and is due in court Friday morning.

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