Kansas City, Kan. Five Kansas City, Kan., police officers who were held at their headquarters for several hours following an FBI sting operation into police theft say they were detained illegally and want to be compensated.
The officers claim in notices filed with Wyandotte County's Unified Government that they were held for about 12 hours at police headquarters and denied representation. State law requires such notices in order to allow up to 120 days to settle cases before lawsuits are filed, according to The Kansas City Star.
Four officers, Mark Gambrill, Michael Mills, Trung Hoang and Jeff Gardner, contend the police department violated their rights, damaged their reputations and caused them to lose wages on unpaid administrative leave. Each is seeking $1 million in damages.
Officer Patrick Callahan makes the same allegations and asks for $500,000 damages. Callahan's wife also asks for $100,000 for loss of consortium and emotional distress.
Police and county government officials declined comment Friday.
The five officers were among 10 held in January at police headquarters after the sting operation, which was prompted by reports that officers were stealing while serving search warrants. A federal grand jury last month indicted three officers on theft charges stemming from the investigation. The five who filed the notices are among the seven officers who were not charged.
After the sting was conducted, the four officers said they were ordered into a police van and taken to police headquarters, where Police Chief Rick Armstrong and at least 10 command staffers pointed assault rifles at them.
They said Armstrong shouted that they were under arrest. The officers also contend they were handcuffed and interrogated, and that commanders told them they had no evidence against them.
Steve Bukaty, a lawyer for the first four officers, said police violated the officers' rights by refusing requests for lawyers or union representation. Bukaty said two officers had shoulder injuries from long periods of being handcuffed, and one suffered a wrist injury from the handcuffs.
"You have commanders who haven't been out in the field for years, and they sling automatic weapons on their shoulders and go arrest those cops — it's something you don't see very often," Bukaty said.