(LEX 18) — Five of the six University of Kentucky football players charged last year with burglary and later acquitted have filed a federal lawsuit against the Lexington Police Department.
Andrew Phillips, Vito Tisdale, Robin Adams, Gotan MacLean and Joel Williams filed separate lawsuits Wednesday against the police department, the Lexington Fayette metropolitan county government, Police Chief Lawrence Withers and two individual police officers.
Alleged malicious lawsuits, fabrication of false evidence, non-interference, conspiracy to deny constitutional rights, and defamation.
The lawsuits outline the events that led to Phillips, Tisdale and four other UK soccer players being charged with theft. The charges against all six players were dropped after a jury decided not to indict them. An investigation conducted by the university also concluded that there were no violations by the players.
At the time of the charges, police charged the six with “forcing them into” a home on Forest Park Drive. Police alleged that the group was asked to leave and then got into a fight with people in the house that left several people injured.
In the lawsuits filed on Wednesday, it states that players who went to the Alpha Sigma Phi party at Forest Park Drive home on March 6, 2021, thought it was an “open invitation.” But when two of the guys, Robin Adams and Joel Williams, arrived at the party, several people started calling them racial insults and telling them to leave, according to the lawsuit.
While Adams and Williams were trying to leave, Williams was jumped by the people at the party before he could walk out the door, according to the lawsuit. That’s when Tisdale got to the party.
His lawsuit alleges that when Tisdale walked to the front door, he was labeled racial slander and was physically assaulted. Tisdale then retreated and at no time returned to the property, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also states that Tisdale never had a handgun. At the time, the police charged him with brutal endangerment and charged him with possessing a gun at the party and pointing it at someone.
When Phillips was arriving at the party, he received a text message that Williams had jumped, according to the lawsuit. Phillips walked toward the open door to check on his friends, and “a woman shouted at him to leave.”
Phillips asked the woman if she was okay, then heard male voices shouting racial insults, according to the lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, “He did not witness any physical altercation, he did not assault anyone, he was not assaulted, and he did not see anyone carrying a weapon.” “Less than five minutes later, Mr. Phillips came back across the front yard and left the party.”
Phillips learned from the technical staff that he is accused of assaulting people in the home, according to the lawsuit.
McClain also received a text message that Williams had jumped, but the way home in Forest Park had already been blocked by law enforcement by the time he arrived, according to the lawsuit. He turned around and went home without getting out of his car.
The lawsuits accuse police of using unreliable information from party accusers when identifying and charging players.
“Specifically, the defendants alleged that fraternity members got together, “dropped names” of individuals they thought might have been present, and then looked at the soccer team’s roster to select individuals who they thought matched the name and description of those they saw the night of the party,” she says. One of the lawsuits.
Each lawsuit stated that the men had suffered damage to their reputation, college experience, education, and future careers.
Adams and Williams have since transferred from the University of Kentucky. Tisdale, Phillips and McLean still play in the UK, although Tisdale has recovered from an injury.
A Lexington Police Department spokesperson said the department was unable to comment on the ongoing lawsuit. The University of Kentucky also had no comment on the lawsuit.
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