Bad Cop in Alabama, Woman Says

     BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CN) – A police officer made a woman take her pants off and assaulted her during a traffic stop, then ordered her to meet him again in an hour, she claims in Federal Court. She says she set up a sting with the police chief, who caught the officer in flagrante, and told him, “You stupid son of a bitch, what are you doing? Get up to the police station.”

     Plaintiff T.A. claims that during an initial traffic stop, Marion, Ala. police Officer Donald Gantt did not tell her why he had stopped her and never asked for her driver’s license or proof of insurance. She says Gantt told her to take off her pants, pull up her shirt and fondle his erect penis.
     He also made lewd comments, such as, “That’s a good looking p*ssy,” according to the complaint. (Spelling as in complaint.)
     T.A. says she asked to talk the police chief, but Gantt refused, and told her, “If you tell anyone about what happened, you will regret it.”
     The complaint continues: “Gantt then threatened [T.A.] by stating he know where she lived and that she would go to jail and receive a lot of tickets.
     “Gantt then received a dispatch over the police radio. He states he had to go, but that [T.A.] was to meet him at the Marion municipal ballpark in one hour.”
     T.A. claims she drove home and told her husband what had happened. He contacted Police Chief Tony Bufford. Bufford is not a party to the lawsuit.
     T.A. says Bufford told her to go ahead and meet Gantt and he would be there, waiting where he could not be seen.
     T.A. says she did so, and that when Gantt arrived he got out of his squad car “and immediately unzipped his pants and removed his erect penis.”
     T.A. “then jumped into her car and pushed the horn to signal Chief Bufford and her husband to come to the scene,” the complaint states.
     Bufford drove up in his squad car and Gantt jumped into his cruiser “and acted as if he was going to flee the scene,” the complaint states.
     “Chief Bufford then stated, ‘You stupid son of a bitch, what are you doing? Get up to the police station.’ Gantt said nothing in response and left the park,” the complaint states.
     By then it was after 4 a.m. T.A. says she and her husband went to the police station but only her husband went in. The next day, she says, they were called again “to provide witness statements.”
     At the station, she says, she was told she would meet an “ABI agent.” (Alabama Bureau of Investigation.) But she says the “ABI agent” was actually another Marion cop. She adds, “To the best of the plaintiff’s knowledge and belief, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation has never assigned an agent to investigate the incident involving [T.A.] and Officer Gantt.”
     T.A. says Chief Bufford told her Gantt “was on suspension and would be terminated,” and also “requested the silence” of her and her husband, because “he was worried about the Police Department’s reputation within the community if this news became public.” She says Bufford told her the ABI and the District Attorney would be notified and would investigate.
     But she says no agent from the ABI ever contacted her or her husband, and though one person in the Perry County District Attorney’s officer contacted her, “No paralegal or investigator from the Perry County District Attorney’s Office has ever contacted [T.A.] or her husband regarding the incident with Officer Gantt.”
     She says the City of Marion denied her claim for compensation, and has never apologized “or otherwise acknowledged responsibility for wrongful conduct”.
     She seeks punitive damages for false arrest, assault and battery, civil rights violations and emotional distress.
     She is represented by David R. Arendall of Birmingham.

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