Oklahoma City Pays $18,000 to Cover Settlement of Lawsuit Over Illegal Police Search

Victor Dewayne Gaines

Oklahoma City has paid $18,000 to settle a federal lawsuit against a police sergeant over an illegal search.

The city council agreed in January to pay the settlement for Sgt. Keith Medley because he “was acting within the scope of his employment at all times relevant to this action.”

Suing was Victor Dewayne Gaines, 31, of Oklahoma City.

The ex-convict came under investigation in 2015 after being released from prison because police suspected he was selling drugs from an Oklahoma City apartment. Police also believed he was in a street gang.

Gaines was charged in 2015 in a federal indictment with possession of cocaine and marijuana with intent to distribute. Police reported finding the drugs Feb. 25, 2015, during a search of the apartment.

A federal judge, though, threw out that evidence after concluding Medley made false and misleading statements in his written request for the search. Federal prosecutors dropped the indictment in 2016 because of the ruling and Gaines was released from jail.

The federal judge wrote Medley “was recklessly indifferent to the falsity of material statements in his affidavit and the misleading effect of his omissions of certain true facts.”

Gaines sued Medley a year ago in Oklahoma City federal court. A tentative settlement — for $18,000 — was reached in November. Medley then asked his employer, the city, to cover that amount. A federal judge last month signed off on the settlement after the city council agreed to pay, without admission of liability.

Gaines alleged in the lawsuit that his civil rights were violated.

He claimed he suffered physical pain, mental anguish, humiliation, severe mental and emotional distress, and injury to his reputation because of the police sergeant’s conduct.

“We are very pleased to resolve this case with the city of Oklahoma City in a positive manner,” his attorney, Eric Cotton, said last week. “This settlement allows him to move forward with his life and be in a better position than he was before. At this time, Victor is working to provide for his family and enjoying spending time with them.”

Medley had claimed any errors in his written request for the search were inadvertent and not reckless or intentional. He also claimed he did not get to fully explain what happened to the federal judge who suppressed the evidence.

Medley was disciplined over the false statements.

He was suspended from work without pay for two days, put on disciplinary probation for a year and given a reprimand.

He also agreed to a transfer to a new position where he does not make arrests or conduct investigations. Police Chief Bill Citty confirmed last week Medley remains in a nonenforcement position.

Medley has been an Oklahoma City police officer since March 2002. In 2015, he was a detective assigned to the Gang Intelligence Unit and Violent Crimes Task Force.

In February 2015, he went to Oklahoma County District Judge Cindy Truong for permission to search for drugs at the apartment where Gaines was staying with a girlfriend and a child.

In the written request, Medley told Truong that police had looked in trash bags taken from the apartment and found “several sandwich baggies … with marijuana residue.”

Medley reported a black male had taken two trash bags from the apartment and left them next to the trash container.

Medley also reported Gaines had prior convictions for shooting with intent to kill and arrests for trafficking drugs and marijuana possession. Medley wrote he had observed Gaines “come and go from the apartment” during surveillance that had lasted 48 hours.

In throwing out the evidence, the federal judge, Timothy D. DeGiusti, found that Medley overstated the contents of the trash bags, made incorrect statements about the suspect’s criminal record and made misleading statements about the surveillance.

The judge called what happened a reckless disregard for the truth.

Specifically, the federal judge pointed out that Medley admitted in testimony that there were only two sandwich baggies in the trash. The judge wrote Medley also admitted the baggies had “green flecks” that he had assumed was marijuana but did not do a field test to be sure.

The judge noted that Medley also admitted that Gaines only had one conviction, in 2002, for shooting with intent to kill and that he had no prior drug arrests.

The judge noted that Medley also left out of the affidavit that the black male carrying the trash bags was only a child of about 8 to 10. The judge noted that Medley also couldn’t see from his surveillance position exactly where the child came from.

DeGiusti concluded Truong never would have authorized the search if the detective had been truthful in his request.

“Medley seemingly did not care whether his sworn statements to the state district court judge were completely accurate or true,” DeGiusti wrote.

Source: http://newsok.com/oklahoma-city-pays-18000-to-cover-settlement-of-lawsuit-over-illegal-police-search/article/5586663

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5648 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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