Judge rules teenager’s rights violated by LMPD officer during traffic stop in 2018

Tae-Ahn Lea was pulled over for making a wide turn when he was handcuffed and subjected to a...
Tae-Ahn Lea was pulled over for making a wide turn when he was handcuffed and subjected to a search of his car. (Source: LMPD)
Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 5:37 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A federal judge has ruled that a teenager’s rights were violated by a Louisville Metro Police officer during a controversial traffic stop in August 2018.

In a ruling filed on Thursday in U.S. District Court, Judge Greg Stivers said Tae-Ahn Lea’s rights were violated “against unlawful search and seizure from the prolonged traffic stop” by Louisville Metro Police officer Kevin Crawford.

The case will proceed as a jury decides the amount of damages Lea will be granted from the violations.

The incident was caught on body cam as Lea, who was 18 years old at the time, was pulled over by Crawford for making an improper wide turn.

Documents state while Lea had been cooperative with police, Crawford pulled the teenager out of the car and handcuffed him after putting a call from his mother on speakerphone.

Lea previously stated that as a Black teenager, he had been racially stereotyped by the officers during the traffic stop.

LMPD had opened an internal investigation into the traffic stop, which was then closed by the department when Crawford resigned from the force.

Traffic stop policy changes were brought into effect by then-LMPD Chief Steve Conrad in August 2019, including not making the removal of subjects in cars a routine procedure and handcuffing subjects only “when the officer has a reasonable and articulable belief that the subject presents a danger to the officer or another person.”