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Trooper suspended for five days without pay after couple injured in mistaken fraud investigation

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Posted at 10:03 AM, Jul 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-22 10:07:28-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentucky State Police Trooper Jack Gabriel received a five-day suspension without pay after a couple was wrongfully detained during a case of mistaken identity.

On June 9, Gage Slone and Elena Perez claim officers roughed them up and injured them while Slone tried to cash $6,600 in savings bonds given to him by a relative. Body camera footage shows police forcibly detain the two outside Chase Bank on Richmond Road.

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

Lexington Police say they were looking for someone else who had visited six Chase Bank locations trying to cash counterfeit bonds the same day.

According to an open records request filed by LEX 18's Leigh Searcy, an administrative investigation by the Kentucky State Police found the "application of force was inappropriate for the situation, and in violation of KSP's courtesy protocols and appropriate conduct standards." Officials say Trooper Gabriel received a five-day unpaid suspension and remedial training in appropriate conduct and courtesy toward the public.

Read the full open records request below:

Kentucky State Police released the following statement on the incident:

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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 Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton shortly after LEX 18 reported on the incident. Mayor Gorton responded with the following statement at the time:

"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."

The attorney for the couple says he will file a lawsuit against Lexington Police and Kentucky State Police for police brutality.