LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

Louisville officer who slapped and poked handcuffed suspect guilty of misconduct, fined $2

He's convicted of hitting robbery suspect, fined


A Louisville Metro Police officer convicted Friday of official misconduct and harassment for striking a handcuffed suspect multiple times was spared jail time and fined $2.

Officer David Graham could have been sentenced to up to 12 months in jail or a $500 fine for the misconduct charge, and up to 90 days in jail or a $250 fine for the harassment charge, said Julie Hardesty, the first assistant Jefferson County attorney.

Instead, a Jefferson District Court jury fined Graham $1 on each of the charges and imposed no jail time after a two-day trial before District Judge Don Armstrong.

The charges filed against Graham last September stemmed from the March 31, 2012, arrest of 19-year-old John R. Sanders in a robbery case. Sanders and another man were accused of punching, kicking and using pepper spray on someone in Old Louisville while taking an e-reader and other items. That case is still pending.

A witness videotaped Sanders' arrest in the 100 block of West Oak Street.

According to Graham's court summons, he handcuffed Sanders behind the back, then poked him multiple times in the throat and slapped him, causing him to fall.

Hardesty said neither the commonwealth nor the defense asked the jury for a specific penalty. But she said Assistant County Attorney Matt Golden did tell the jury that Graham "should be held accountable just as anyone else would be if it were a spouse who had abused a spouse or if it was a neighbor who had abused a neighbor."

Defense attorney Steve Schroering said Graham was disappointed that he was convicted but "thankful that the jury gave him the absolute minimum penalty."

Schoering said he would assume that the jury's message in imposing the $2 fine was "that while he was technically wrong in his conduct, they forgave him under the circumstances."

He said those circumstances were that Sanders was charged with having committed "an incredibly violent robbery and Officer Graham ... had a temporary loss of control that caused the suspect no injuries."

Hardesty, however, noted, "They did find him guilty.

"That is very significant in that a police officer has been found guilty of violating the law," she said.

Graham, a Fourth Division officer who has been on the police force since 1999, could still face disciplinary action from the police department. Police spokesman Dwight Mitchell said the officer remains on a paid administrative leave imposed last April pending the outcome of a continuing investigation by the department's Professional Standards Unit.