Two E.B. officers sued
Published 10:00 pm Monday, June 30, 2008
By By Lisa Tindell – news editor
An East Brewton couple has filed a police brutality lawsuit against two police officers they claim repeatedly harassed them.
Michael Palmer and Amber Ballard claim the harassment and brutality caused Ballard to give birth to her child prematurely following one of the incidents cited in the case filed in U.S. District court in Mobile June 16.
Jason Crawford, a former East Brewton police officer, and current East Brewton Police Chief B.C. Cooper have been named in the lawsuit filed on behalf of Palmer and Ballard by Atlanta attorney April England-Albright.
In published reports, Albright said the civil complaint was the result of actions by the two officers during a period in 2006.
In September 2006, Palmer, Ballard, Albright and NAACP President Anthony McKenzie held a press conference on the steps of the East Brewton City Hall to explain the case and the pending lawsuit.
At the press conference, McKenzie said Palmer was pulled over in June 2006 by an East Brewton police officer who then called for assistance from another officer. During the stop, McKenzie said, Palmer asked to call his mother on his cell phone. When Palmer was on the phone, McKenzie said, one officer kicked him and the other knocked him to the ground.
McKenzie claimed the alleged brutality extended to Ballard when she was asked to exit the car so that officers could search the vehicle.
McKenzie said Ballard was pushed against the car in such a manner that it caused her to go into early labor and deliver her child prematurely.
Ballard was eight months pregnant at the time of the incident, McKenzie said.
Ballard, 23, and Palmer, 37, were convicted of disorderly conduct stemming from events of the June 14, 2006, altercation according Escambia County District Court records. The judge found Palmer guilty of resisting arrest, failure to obey a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct and endangering the welfare of a child from a March 2006 arrest.
The lawsuit filed last week states that Crawford grabbed Ballard's hand during a June 2006 traffic stop and pushed her into the car pressing against her stomach.
The suit alleges that Crawford searched Ballard in a sexual manner.
Calls to neither the plaintiffs' attorney nor Cooper were returned on Friday.
The lawsuit filed in Mobile also names the city of East Brewton as a defendant in the case.