Lawsuit Accuses Louisville, Ky. Police of Assault

June 29, 2011

A Louisville man has filed suit against five police officers alleging that they attacked him without provocation.

Shawn Gellhaus claims in the lawsuit that police repeatedly slammed him to the ground last June, then punched, kicked and choked him before hog-tying him and throwing him into a police cruiser.

The suit was filed June 17 in Jefferson Circuit Court and names Major James Harper, Sgt. Rick Huber, Sgt. Brent Mattingly, Officer Russell Miller and Officer Amy Bowman.

Metro police spokesman Dwight Mitchell told The Courier-Journal that neither the department nor officers could comment on pending litigation. However, he said an investigation by department’s public integrity unit cleared the officers.

The officers were called to check on Gellhaus after friends found him acting strangely at an outdoor basketball court. Friends have said Gellhaus did not respond to questions and would only walk around, saying “yeah” repeatedly.

Gellhaus’ attorney, Thomas Clay, says he thinks his client was suffering from heat stroke or some other illness and that at 5-feet-10 and 120 pounds he was not a threat to officers.

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