LOUSIVILLE (CN) – A police officer claims in court that the host of a WHAS Radio show defamed him repeatedly on the air because the cop gave him a speeding ticket.
Louisville Metro police Officer Sam Cromity sued Clear Channel Communications and its employee Terry Meiners, who hosts the afternoon drive-time show on defendant WHAS Radio aka 84WHAS aka News Radio 84, in Jefferson County Court.
Cromity claims he was professional and courteous when he pulled over two vehicles for speeding on Louisville’s Watterson Expressway on the afternoon of March 18, 2011.
Cromity says in his complaint: “Upset because he received a traffic ticket as any normal resident of Metro Louisville, Meiners used his access to a wide radio audience to retaliate against Officer Cromity by maligning and disparaging Officer Cromity’s character, competence and reputation.
“Specifically, on the air, Meiners falsely stated ‘I wasn’t speeding’ and then he said Officer Cromity was ‘not doing his job,’ was an ‘out and out liar,’ an ‘absolute liar,’ ‘irresponsible,’ ‘reckless,’ ‘dangerous,’ an ‘error-prone legal official,’ a ‘troubled public servant,’ ‘creative writing,’ and ‘delusional.’
“Meiners further implied that Officer Cromity became confrontational with him and Meiners claimed to have feared being arrested if he complained.
“Over the next several days Meiners continued his disparagement and slander of Officer Cromity by again claiming he was untruthful, referring to him as ‘Black Barney’ [an apparent reference to barney Fife, a caricature of a bumbling, imbecilic police officer] ‘who drives the black car on the Watterson’ and playing belittling songs on the air concerning the ‘highway patrol.'” (Brackets in complaint.)
Cromity adds: “These statements alleged an untruthfulness and unprofessional activity on the part of Officer Cromity and tended to expose him to public disgrace, humiliation, ridicule, contempt and/or induce an evil opinion of them in the community and were defamatory per se.”
Cromity claims the radio jock made the statements recklessly, knowing they are untrue, and that the defendants refused his request for a retraction.
He seeks punitive damages for defamation and false light.
He is represented by Andrew J. Horne, with Anderson and Horne.