Firm files police misconduct lawsuit for alleged rape by police officer

A woman is suing the City of Chattanooga after alleging that she was raped by a former city police officer, Desmond Logan. The lawsuit (PDF) claims that Logan had a history of sexual misconduct and that the city was well aware of his recurring behavior but failed to properly investigate or discipline him.

Police misconduct lawsuit filed in federal court

The plaintiff, who is co-represented by David Randolph Smith & Associates and Sutherland & Belk, was out driving with friends on June 11, 2018 when she pulled into a gas station to use the restroom. She claims that when she emerged from the restroom, Logan immediately placed her under arrest, leading her to his car and threatening her with charges if she did not comply. Logan drove the plaintiff to a parking lot and told her she now had a chance to “talk her way out of [the charges]”, whereupon he let her out of the car, pushed her against the vehicle and raped her.

He then drove her to the Hamilton County Jail and placed her in the custody of other officers. The victim alleges that she tried to tell the officers what occurred in the parking lot, but she was ignored and strip-searched. She was then transferred to a different facility on June 13, where she again reported Logan’s actions. This time, her accusation was taken seriously. According to the New York Times, the FBI has opened an investigation into Logan’s misconduct.

When the plaintiff’s allegations against Logan came to light, several other victims came forward with similar accusations, painting a picture of Logan’s serious and repeated sexual misconduct over several years. In a recent article, the Chattanooga Times Free Press outlined the reports of the other accusers.

Suit alleges history of police misconduct

One woman claims that in 2015, Logan placed her under false arrest, drove her to an abandoned parking lot, and raped her, all in an event very similar to his behavior in the plaintiff’s case. Another woman alleges that, in 2016, he threatened her with handcuffs and tased her in the thigh after escorting her to her vehicle.

Both victims reported their attacks soon after they occurred. However, Logan inexplicably remained on the city police force, and as the complaint alleges, was acting under “color of law” and “in his official role as an on-duty police officer for the City of Chattanooga” when he assaulted the plaintiff.

The complaint cites instances of multiple other individuals that the city employed in spite of criminal or regulatory violations, including Karl Fields, Janet Crumley, Edwin McPherson, and Paul Page. The plaintiff alleges that these prior situations serve as examples of the city’s refusal to properly discipline its employees and to protect the public from their harmful actions, and establishes a history of negligence on the city’s behalf.

The plaintiff brings her suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which holds that a plaintiff may bring a civil action against individuals who, acting under color of law, deprived the plaintiff of a Constitutionally-protected right. The complaint alleges that Logan violated his victim’s Fourth Amendment right of protection against “unreasonable search and seizure” (or arbitrary arrest), as well as her Fourteenth Amendment rights to equal protection and due process.

For more about the case, including commentary by attorneys Christopher and Dominick Smith, view WRCBtv’s video and written article.

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