Lawsuit alleges excessive force by Frankfort deputy against two women

Posted at 7:23 PM, Jun 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-24 19:26:17-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — "All you had to do was talk to her." That's what Shontel Harris said after watching cruiser-cam video of her daughter and a friend being pulled out of a car by a Franklin County sheriff's deputy.

A lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court alleging Deputy Phillip Ray used excessive force when he pulled Maysia Harris and Hannah Clark from a car after a short chase on September 20, 2020.

The women were passengers in the car driven by Delano Washington, who officers say they attempted to stop for erratic driving. He was the only one of the three arrested and charged with a crime.

Harris and Clark's attorney Greg Belzley said they asked Washington to stop but once pulled over they were "jerked, ripped and torn out of the backseat."

According to the lawsuit, their civil rights were violated by the defendant's "unreasonable, gross and unconscionable use of excessive force."

Harris' mother recently saw the dashcam video for the first time and told us it was heartbreaking.

"It hurts, it hurts for the fact we're supposed to be able to protect our kids, how can we protect our kids from that?" said Shontel Harris.

Named in the lawsuit are Franklin County Judge-Executive Huston Wells, Sheriff Chris Quire, and Sergeant Nathan Doty who the plaintiff's claim didn't prevent Ray from using excessive force.

LEX 18 tried to reach Franklin County Sheriff Chris Quire for comment, but he did not get back to us.

While the lawsuit alleges gross misconduct by the deputies, it commends the city of Frankfort police officers that are seen on the video assisting the front-seat passenger out of the vehicle and helping him to his feet. It states, 'The stark contrast between the restrained, professional conduct of the City of Frankfort police officers at the scene, compared to the unrestrained, violent, and malicious conduct of Defendants Doty and Ray, reveals that the FCSO has obviously serious deficiencies in employing, supervising and training its officers.'

Shontel Harris says she has always told her daughter to respect authority. Now she wonders what impact the incident may have on the 20-year-old in the future.

"Now my daughter is worried about getting pulled over if something like this could happen to her again."