EKU instructor sues Richmond, police officers

An instructor in law enforcement at Eastern Kentucky University has sued the city of Richmond and the chief and three officers of the Richmond Police Department.

Carl A. Root alleges in the suit filed Thursday in Madison Circuit Court that he was beaten and shocked with a Taser on May 3, 2009, when police charged him with resisting arrest, third-degree assault, disorderly conduct and alcohol intoxication.

Root, 32, is an adjunct professor in EKU's department of criminal justice. A university spokesman described Root as a part-time faculty member. He works with undergraduates, and some members of the Richmond police department have taken his classes.

Richmond police spokesman Willard Reardon said it is department policy to not comment on litigation.

All the charges against Root were eventually dismissed — two by a grand jury and two by Madison County District Court Judge Brandy Brown, the lawsuit says.

Root alleges that Richmond police Cpl. Timothy Craft and Officers Devin Thomas and Kelli Fraze unlawfully entered his apartment, and then shocked him with a Taser. Root was then put in a police cruiser, where he was subsequently shocked again, "punched and/or beaten repetitively" by the officers, the suit says.

Root alleges that he suffered "permanent disfigurement and/or permanent injury as a result of the Taser shock to his back, said Root's attorney, James Baechtold.

"This lawsuit is not an attack on the department as a whole, but rather a wake-up call to the few officers who have violated the constitutional rights of our client," Baechtold said in a statement.

The suit claims unlawful imprisonment by illegally arresting and detaining Root; battery by unlawfully touching him; assault; trespass by unlawfully entering the apartment; and infliction of emotional distress.

The suit says Brock, the police chief, "either intentionally or negligently failed to supervise subordinate officers of the Richmond Police Department." Brock and the three officers are sued in their individual and official capacities.

Root seeks a jury trial and compensatory and punitive damages.