LOUISVILLE (CN) – A man who lost his larynx to cancer claims police tackled him and held him at gunpoint after he entered the Fifth Third Bank on Veteran’s Day to pay his taxes. William Brown claims the bank had left its doors unlocked on the holiday, and police “apparently believed his hand-held [speaking] device was a weapon,” and knocked him down and held him at gunpoint.
Brown claims that the bank “refuses to provide copies of the videotape of the incident and refuses to identify the names and other information of the individuals and entities responsible for leaving the bank unlocked on that day.”
Brown had his larynx removed due to cancer, “and speaks utilizing a hand-held device which he must place on his throat,” according to his complaint in Jefferson County Court.
Brown says he went to the “Okolona Branch” of Fifth Third Bank branch in Louisville on Veterans Day 2009 to pay his property taxes. He says the bank had advertised that it would accept the tax payments, and he didn’t know it was closed for the holiday, as there were no signs indicating that it was closed.
When he entered the bank, Brown says, he “noticed no one was behind the counter. He walked around the public areas of the bank, and was afraid that someone had robbed the bank.”
So, Brown says, he “reached for his cell phone, and was told by police to get down on the floor.”
The police, apparently responding to the bank’s silent alarm, “had their weapons drawn, and pointed at the plaintiff.”
Brown says the police tackled him and held him at gunpoint, putting him “in fear for his life.” He says he “was unable to speak because of being restrained,” and “the police apparently believed his hand-held device was a weapon.”
Brown wants the bank ordered to produce the video of the police response to the alarm, “showing all of the videotape of the incident,” and to reveal the names of the people who left the bank unlocked.
He also seeks damages for his “anguish and emotional distress at being assaulted by the police, held at gunpoint, and threatened with physical harm.”
Brown sued Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank and “unknown defendants.” He is represented by Richard Head of Louisville.