A former Williamsburg Police Chief, who was named in a recent federal court lawsuit alleging that he helped another officer violate a Jellico woman’s civil rights last year, wasn’t even on duty when the incident happened, according to current Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird.
Through her attorneys, Kimberly J. Perkins filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in London on May 13, nearly a year after she claims she was abused at the hands of city police officers Michael Taylor and former Chief Russell Jones.
According to the lawsuit, Perkins was a guest at the Days Inn motel in Williamsburg on May 14 where she had traveled to meet a friend following a surgical procedure at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. The two shared a room and were planning on traveling to Louisville.
Perkins left the hotel to get something to eat at a nearby Krystal Restaurant when she was stopped by Taylor who apparently questioned her about a "loud and potentially violent argument" among employees at the Days Inn. She said she knew nothing about the fight and didn’t learn about it until after the fact.
The lawsuit goes on to claim that Taylor referred to her as a man, inappropriately touched her then later, with Jones, searched her room and seized some medications that had been prescribed to her, along with other items.
"I’m not going to get into the details of it but in Russell Jones’ defense, Russell was not even on the clock that day," Bird said.
He noted that Jones had been diagnosed with cancer the day prior to the incident, and that Jones was completely off work the day it occurred.
"He was not even involved in that incident in any capacity. He was at the doctor’s office that day," Bird said. "In the 24 years that Russell served the city, he never one time had any disciplinary action or written complaints filed against him."
Bird also denied claims in the lawsuit that Jones and Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison knew about or should have known about any past complaints or disciplinary infractions by Taylor.
"In the lawsuit, it alleges that Officer Taylor apparently had some disciplinary problems or the city was aware of some complaints," Bird said. "Officer Taylor has not had one single disciplinary problem since he has been a police officer."
Bird said there has only been one written complaint filed against Taylor since he joined the force in 2005.
"It was investigated by me, and was unfounded and the case was closed. In their defense, both of them are exceptional officers. I just think the allegations in the lawsuit are just horrendous. They are silly," Bird said.
Harrison, Whitley County Judge Executive Pat White, the Whitley County Detention Center and Whitley County Jailer Ken Mobley are also named as defendants in the suit.
The lawsuit claims Perkins’ Constitutional rights to be free from illegal search and seizure and from use of excessive force. She says she has been physically and emotionally traumatized by the incident and is seeking monetary damages.
Her arrest is part of an ongoing criminal prosecution, which her attorneys claim is "false and without any basis in law and fact," according to the lawsuit.
Perkins is scheduled to stand trial June 3 in Whitley District Court on the alcohol intoxication charge.
She had allegedly caused a disturbance with an employee at Days Inn and management wanted her out, Taylor wrote on her arrest citation.
She allegedly had slurred speech, blood shot eyes, and was unsteady on her feet, according to her arrest citation.