LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

Strip Club Sues LMPD After Police Raid


Security footage of a SWAT team raid at a local strip club is at the center of a lawsuit filed by the former owners of the club against the Louisville Metro Police Department.

Former owners of Phat's Bar and Grill claim that their business was "persistently and unnecessarily harassed" by the police during a SWAT team raid on the morning of April 20, 2008.

"I get extremely emotional -- even to this second, even talking about it, I get emotional," said Bert Williams Jr., one of the former owners of the club.

In the lawsuit, Williams calls the LMPD raid "illegal." It alleges that officers "improperly and unnecessarily physically and verbally assaulted" people inside the club. It also accuses officers of tampering with security cameras to conceal their actions.

"One officer turning a camera to the wall, one officer putting women's panties on the lens," said J. Fox Demoisey, one of the lawyers representing Williams.

The lawsuit also claims that police seized more than $30,000 in cash from the strip club.

"One particular police officer put money in his pocket, and in most search protocols, officers go in with no extraneous materials," Demoisey said.

Phat's went out of business about a year ago. The former owners said the raid is the reason why.

"Our business dropped off majorly, and the police knew what they were doing. It was all a strategy from the very beginning," Williams said.

"This was a long, ongoing attempt to get Phat's off of Broadway, from across the Federal Building, because some people think that venue was an eyesore that should be removed," Demoisey said.

Williams is suing for damages -- both economic and emotional.

The lawsuit also alleges that one of the club's owners was arrested on the night of the raid for possession of drug paraphernalia, but Demoisey said the videotape proves he could not have committed that crime.

An LMPD spokesperson declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing a policy of not commenting on pending litigation.