Lawsuit accuses Lexington officer of wrongful arrest

vhoneycutt@herald-leader.comMay 2, 2013 

A man has filed a federal lawsuit against a Lexington police officer alleging that the officer forced his way into the man's home without a warrant and charged him with several offenses that were later dismissed.

City and police officials, some of whom are also named in the lawsuit, declined to comment, as they typically do in such cases.

In a lawsuit filed April 26 in U.S. District Court, Richard Alex Vidal said he was at his home on Park Avenue between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. on April 28, 2012, when officer Ronald Kornrumpf came to the back door without an arrest warrant or search warrant. The officer allegedly demanded that Vidal disclose his name.

After briefly questioning Vidal, the complaint said, "Kornrumpf, without warning or provocation, forced his way into the home by blocking the door with his foot and pushing it violently inward toward Mr. Vidal."

Once inside the home, the complaint said, Kornrumpf put Vidal in a choke hold and forced him to the floor. Kornrumpf held Vidal "in a manner which caused pain and discomfort."

The lawsuit claims that Kornrumpf did not have probable cause to arrest Vidal and that the arrest was a violation of Vidal's rights.

According to the lawsuit, Vidal was charged with violating the local noise ordinance, second-degree disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and being in possession of alcohol. Three of the charges were dismissed.

The lawsuit said Vidal pleaded guilty to violating the noise ordinance. Those who violate a noise ordinance are not arrested, the lawsuit claimed.

Vidal paid a $204 fine, a Fayette District Court clerk said.

The lawsuit said Vidal spent a night in jail after he was arrested.

The Urban County Government, Mayor Jim Gray, Lexington Police Chief Ronnie Bastin and unidentified police officers who participated in the arrest also are named as defendants in the suit.

Susan Straub, spokeswoman for Gray, declined to comment. Police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts declined to comment, but she confirmed that Kornrumpf has been a Lexington police officer since 2006.

Vidal's attorney Aaron R. Esmailzadeh said in an interview that his client is not seeking "a large financial recovery from this situation."

"It's a matter of making sure incidents such as this don't happen again," Esmailzadeh said. "Mr. Vidal was exercising his right to remain silent, and an officer forced his way into the home and put him in a choke hold."

Vidal is asking for unspecified punitive damages and an unspecified amount to compensate him for physical, mental and emotional stress, and legal fees.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: (859) 231-3409.Twitter:@vhspears

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