City, police officer ask for $30M lawsuit to be dismissed
3/15/2019, 6 a.m.
City Hall and Richmond Police Officer Benjamin Frazer are asking the Richmond Circuit Court to throw out a $30 million lawsuit that a Richmond woman filed after being handcuffed during a police traffic stop.
In response to the suit Thelma N. Brown filed last month against the government and the officer, the city urged the court to find that the City of Richmond cannot be sued under the doctrine of sovereign immunity which bars suits against a government entity unless it has agreed to be sued.
In his own response, Officer Frazer responded with a denial that he did anything improper and separately argued that the case should be dismissed because he was doing his job and has qualified immunity from lawsuits as a law enforcement officer.
Ms. Brown alleged in her suit that Officer Frazer pulled her over around 11:30 p.m. Nov. 19 and detained her in handcuffs during the stop for having a headlight and tail light that were not functioning.
Her complaint alleges that she was subjected to “threatening and intimidating behavior” and then humiliated by being placed in restraints after being compelled to leave her vehicle.
Her suit is based on a claim that Richmond officers routinely use handcuffs on African-American drivers during stops and that the action is discriminatory.
She ultimately was given two summonses for the faulty light. Both summonses were dismissed when she went to court in January. — JEREMY M. LAZARUS