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Lawsuit Accuses Horse Cave Police Officers of Excessive Force, Use of Racial Slurs


Two Horse Cave residents have filed a lawsuit against the city and its police department over a number of allegations, including unlawful arrest and detainment, excessive force, and assault.

This story contains offensive language.

The suit also claims officers used racial slurs against the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit filed in Hart County Circuit Court alleges the Horse Cave Police Department harassed, threatened, physically abused, and unlawfully arrested Anthony Owens and his mother, Sheila Bryant. The suit says officers arrested Owens on January 8, 2018, on false charges in retaliation for Owens making statements on social media about alleged corruption in the Horse Cave Police Department.

Those named in the suit are former Horse Cave Police Officers Chris Trulock and Larry Dale Martin, former Horse Cave Police Chief Sean Henry, and Horse Cave Mayor Randall Curry.

The police department and city are also named.

The suit says the officers illegally entered Owens’ home one month later without obtaining a search warrant, choked him, slammed him to the ground, and called him multiple racial slurs, including “n*****”, “boy”, and “little bastard boy.”  

According to the lawsuit, Officer Trulock pointed at his badge at one point and told Anthony, “Do you see this? This means I can do what the f*** I want to do. I’ll drop you, boy.”

The officers allegedly planted drugs on Owens and charged him with possession.

The suit says when Owens’ mother, Sheila Bryant, arrived at the home and called state police, the officers used excessive physical force and falsely arrested her.

According the lawsuit, Bryant was taken to the Horse Cave Police station where she was again subjected to unlawful and excessive physical force by the officers. She was allegedly called racial slurs such as “n***** lover.”

The plaintiffs allege the officers’ actions were ordered by then-Police Chief Sean Henry and Mayor Randall Curry in retaliation for the comments Owens made about the police department on social media.

All of the charges filed against Owens and Bryant have been dropped.

Current Horse Cave Police Chief David Graves, who was not in charge of the department at the time of the alleged incidents, says the department has been taking steps to earn the public’s trust.

Attempts to reach Mayor Curry have been unsuccessful.

The city and police department also recently faced a lawsuit filed in federal court by a Barren County man who said he was unlawfully detained and arrested by officers at a police roadblock in 2017. That lawsuit was recently dismissed.

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition. He is a broadcast journalism graduate of WKU, and has won numerous awards for his reporting and feature production. Kevin grew up in Radcliff, Kentucky and currently lives in Glasgow.
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