A former inmate who was freed from prison has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Tulsa and a convicted police officer, claiming they fabricated a search warrant and staged “bogus and sham charges” against him.
It’s at least the 12th complaint brought against the city and several police officers who were caught up in a corruption probe, which roiled the department and sent former officer Jeff Henderson – who is named in the latest lawsuit – to prison last year.
Lindell Pointer’s lawsuit, filed late Wednesday in federal court, also names former Tulsa Police Chief Ron Palmer for knowing of “the threat of harm and injury Henderson posed to (Pointer) and the citizens of Tulsa, and acted with deliberate indifference to (Pointer’s) constitutional rights.” Palmer was chief from 1992-2002 and 2007-2010.
Last year, a jury found Henderson guilty of lying six times during a federal court case and violating the civil rights of citizens during an illegal search. A fellow officer was acquitted.
As a result of the four-year corruption probe, nearly 45 people have been freed from prison or had sentences reduced, including Pointer, who was released from prison in 2010.
Henderson, who is serving a 42-month prison sentence, is appealing his conviction with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. His attorney, Robert Wyatt IV, did not return a phone message Thursday seeking comment about Pointer’s lawsuit.
A city spokeswoman, Kim MacLeod, said she could not comment because litigation is pending.
When contacted Thursday morning, Palmer said he hadn’t been served and didn’t know anything about the lawsuit.
“I don’t know his name; I don’t know any of the details of the lawsuit,” Palmer said.
Additionally, messages left with a Tulsa police spokesman and a captain regarding the lawsuit were not returned.
Pointer’s attorney, J. Derek Ingle, said Thursday the document spoke for itself and, “it’s not our practice to try our cases in the media, and we’ll stand on the pleadings which explain our position.”
In 2008, Pointer was sentenced to 14 years in prison for possessing at least 50 grams of cocaine base with intent to distribute. While in prison, Pointer alleges that he became aware that the search warrant to his home was improper and, “in fact, the affidavit was completely made up and falsely verified by Tulsa police officers,” the document states.
Pointer also alleges that Henderson and an ATF agent, Brandon McFadden – who later cooperated with prosecutors and received a lighter prison sentence – were key in making the case against him. After he began his prison term, Pointer states that he learned “Henderson and McFadden committed perjury during the trial,” which helped Pointer win his release from prison.
Pointer also alleges that Palmer knew that Henderson and other police officers were “committing perjury, suborning perjury, fabricating evidence, and initiating what would become the malicious prosecution of (Pointer) and numerous other persons.”
Pointer is seeking damages in excess of $75,000.
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