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LEX 18 Investigates: Body cam footage released from mistaken fraud investigation

Posted at 8:42 PM, Jun 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-12 20:42:46-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Lexington Police Department released officer-worn body camera footage of a violent incident in which officers are accused of assaulting a young couple they mistakenly thought were suspects in a fraud investigation.

In the video, police forcibly detain Gage Slone and his girlfriend, Elena Perez, at Chase Bank on Richmond Road.

The incident began soon after Slone showed up to the bank to cash $6,600 in savings bonds.

Slone says after waiting several minutes inside the lobby, a state trooper showed up and frisked him without explaining why.

"I thought I was being ambushed," Slone said. "Thought I was being treated like a criminal."

Outside the bank, Slone says the trooper and two Lexington officers wrestled him to the ground with all three officers' knees pressed against him.

"I said 'I couldn't breathe, officer' and he said to me 'Shut up. If you're talking, you're breathing,'" Slone said.

Instead of leaving with money, his attorney, Scott White, says Slone left with injuries to his head, arms, and a concussion. Their attorney says police were looking for people in a car like Slone's going around town defrauding banks. Suspicious of Slone, White tells us Chase Bank notified police. He says Slone, who was simply trying to cash savings bonds given to him by his grandmother, suddenly became the prime suspect with his girlfriend, the accomplice.

Slone's hospital records show he had a closed head injury with a concussion, a facial abrasion, head pain, and a neck contusion.

Perez says the officer forced her out of the car without an explanation.

"I remember being yanked by my hair but after that, I don't remember I couldn't even see who did it," she said.

According to her medical records, she received a closed head injury without loss of consciousness, a contusion of the left forearm, a headache, and pain of scalp.​

"I just wish he would've handled it different. It made me feel targeted and singled out," she said.

Lexington Police acknowledged officers detained the wrong people.

"Lexington Police recognizes that Mr. Slone and Ms. Perez had an unusual and alarming encounter with police. We regret any fear, anxiety, and injuries this incident caused them," Lexington Police said in a statement.

We also reached out to the Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton, who responded with a statement that can be found below.

“Our Public Integrity Unit immediately opened an investigation into this case once the complaint was received. The process of interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence is well underway. Kentucky State Police have been contacted in reference to one of their Troopers being at the scene. There are some unanswered questions, and some issues to resolve. We expect professionalism from all of our police officers. We expect them to follow professional standards. We expect the investigative process to get to the truth.”