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Update on Lou Grocery Store suit

Saturday, June 23, 2012, 6:04 pm News Flash Archive

As reported in the Commonwealth, the Lou family (Tin S., Mae and Leland) have filed suit against the City of Greenwood and several police officers for false arrest, malicious prosecution, excess force, and other civil rights violations. The allegations result from the June 18 2011 incident in which the Lous called the police to arrest trespassers, and were themselves arrested on their own property by the police for "disorderly conduct, failure to obey a police officer."

Several facts of interest have since emerged:

1. A video tape of the entire incident, including the improper arrests of the Lous, does indeed exist.

2. Leland Lou, one of the plaintiffs who was arrested, is in fact a physician practicing in Meridian. He graduated from Tulane University School of Medicine. He is the son of Tin and Mae Lou, the owners of the family grocery store where the incidents took place.

3. The charges against the Lous, which were finally heard in city court on December 5, 2011 by Judge Carlos Palmer, were not "passed to the files" as has been reported, but were in fact dismissed due to failure of the complaining police officer to appear (he no longer works for the Greenwood Police Department). The court docket, signed by the judge, states that they were found "NOT GUILTY."

4. As of Friday, at least one city council member had not yet been shown the Mississippi Tort Claims Act notice of intent to sue. This should have been given to the city at least three months ago in an effort to settle the claims if possible. This raises the question: how could the city be put on notice of a suit of this nature, but council members be denied knowledge of that impending suit?

5. One of the persons alleged to have been trespassing on the Lous' property, named Riydah Fadel, was arrested sometime around July 4 2011 and charged with trespassing. He was released on bond. It is not clear whether this arrest was for the same trespass of June 18 of which the Lous were complaining.

6. On November 7, 2011, a bench warrant was issued by the city court for Mr. Fadel. He was arrested a few days later for contempt of court and released again on bond.

7. On January 9, 2012, Mr. Fidal was found guilty of willful trespassing, fined $420, and sentenced to two months probation. The charge of failure to appear was passed to the files. He was also assessed $50 in court costs.

John Pittman Hey
The Taxpayers Channel

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