NewsCovering Kentucky


Federal suit filed against Lexington police chaplain in mall incident

Posted at 12:20 PM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 18:56:07-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A lawsuit has been filed in federal court against the Lexington police department following an incident involving a Lexington police chaplain and a teen with autism.

The suit was filed in connection with a February 2019 incident in which officers were dispatched to the Fayette Mall in connection to a complaint that two teens were being disorderly. Cell phone footage appears to show Chaplain Donovan Stewart punching one of those teens after he was restrained.

The suit claims that Stewart "flew into a rage" and assaulted the teen, identified only as A.B.T. in the documents. Lack of proper training, the suit alleges, violates the federally protected civil rights of persons with autism.

Community activists demanded an investigation into the incident. The suit, filed on behalf of the teen by his family, names Stewart individually and the Lexington Fayette Urban County government as defendants.

"Bystanders took videos of the encounter between Defendant Stewart and A.B.T. The video shows Defendant Stewart closed fist punching A.B.T in the face/head. Even with A.B.T restrained on the floor and not posing any threats to Defendant Stewart or anyone else, Defendant Stewart continued to punch A.B.T until a bystander removed Defendant Stewart's hand from A.B.T.," the suit reads.

The suit also states that Stewart attacked the bystander.

Attorneys for the family are seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

LEX 18 has reached out to Lexington Police. They would not comment on the pending litigation.