MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The City of Memphis is being sued for $850,000 by a man who says he was sexually assaulted by a police officer during an illegal stop and frisk.
Attorney Jake Brown says two Memphis police officers randomly stopped his client at Mimosa and Red Oak in Binghampton July 31 last year. A pat down, he says, turned into an invasive and illegal body cavity search right on the street corner.
MPD policy states officers need a warrant to conduct a search and it must be done in a secure location by a licensed nurse or doctor.
“Something in the Memphis Police Department needs to change,” Brown told WMC Action News 5. “After my client was in handcuffs, Officer Christopher Tracy, who was searching his person without probable cause, inserted his fingers into my client’s rectum. And there were witnesses to this in the neighborhood.”
Brown’s client was never arrested or charged with any crime. When he complained to internal affairs and no action was taken against the officers, he hired a lawyer. Brown says the City of Memphis and MPD have been less than forthcoming with his requests for information. They put him off, he suspects, until the statute of limitations expired on the case.
“The city seems bound and determined to make it as difficult as possible to find out what’s going on with their less than model officers," said Brown.
His client filed a complaint with MPD’s Internal Affairs the day after the alleged incident. A letter from MPD’s Inspectional Service Bureau dated nearly a year later shows Officers Christopher Tracy and Justin Vazeii violated two department policies: Neglect of Duty Inventory and Processing Recovered Property.
The letter makes no mention of any discipline for the officers. Brown says the lawsuit, which was recently amended in federal court, seeks $850,000 in damages.
“We believe the only thing that’s going to get the city and the administration’s attention is money,” Brown said. “If they get hit with big judgments that will motivate them to get in line.”
The suit names Officers Tracy and Vazeii, along with Police Director Mike Rallings, Colonel Prentiss Jolly, who heads up the Tillman precinct where the officers work, and the City of Memphis.
WMC Action News 5 reached out to MPD for comment on this story and received no response.