The city of Louisville has agreed to pay $75,000 to a Black couple who say police removed them from their car and frisked them because of their race and that they were driving a nice vehicle.
According to the Lousiville Courier-Journal, as a condition of the payment, the couple and their lawyers are forbidden from criticizing the Louisville Metro Government or the cops involved in the incident in the media or on social media.
Michael Abate, a lawyer for the Courier Journal and the Kentucky Press Association, says the stipulations of the agreement are “totally improper.”
“The city is paying to silence its critics," he said. "It is paying them off. And it seems designed to impede reform. It is bad policy and really troubling."
First Assistant County Attorney Ingrid Geiser said in a statement that the couple "are not prohibited from talking truthfully about what happened during their traffic stop," though she added the language "should have more accurately reflected the agreement of the parties."
In their federal lawsuit, Anthony Parker Sr. and Demetria Firman claim they were pulled over in 2018 for failing to use a turn signal, even though body camera footage shows they did turn it on. On their way home from church, they were subsequently stopped and frisked without reasonable suspicion in front of their 9-year-old son in a “desperate attempt by the officers to find guns and drugs.”
Neither were found.
The lawsuit also states that Firman was only allowed to leave the scene when it was apparent to the officers that Demetria and her now-husband were personal acquaintances with a colleague of the officers, the Courier-Journal reports.
The city agreed to the settlement on September 9 with the stipulation the Metro Government acknowledged no wrongdoing.
The attorneys wrote in the traffic-stop lawsuit that the couple was pulled over “because they are Black, were in a nice car and were in a designated target neighborhood of LMPD.”