Lawsuit Claims Police Planted Drugs During Arrest - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Lawsuit Claims Police Planted Drugs During Arrest

Chris Melton Chris Melton
Blair Durham Blair Durham
Carlos Ferrell Carlos Ferrell

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - A man filed a $10 million federal charging Cookeville police abuse and corruption.

Carlos Ferrell's lawsuit says police sicced a dog on him and framed him for a drug possession charge.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating the traffic stop, which took place in June. It was captured on Officer Chris Melton's in-car video camera.

Ferrell said the video proves he was attacked for no reason and framed.

Police stopped him because of a domestic violence warrant. Police said he resisted arrest.

Police searched Ferrell and found nothing.

On the video, Melton is shown looking at the squad car before he reaches into his own shirt pocket. He places the same hand into Ferrell's front pants pocket.

Melton claims to have found a small bag of marijuana. Ferrell was charged with simple possession.

"Drugs were planted on Mr. Ferrell by one of the police officers," said Ferrell's attorney Blair Durham.

"It's just blatant that syndrome it seems like of people that just feel like they're above the law," Durham said. "Literally, you wonder how many other people this has happened to."

Ferrell has an arrest record that includes drug, DUI and domestic violence charges. But Durham said his client's rights were violated when Rocko the police dog attacked.

"The dog bite was purely unnecessary," Durham said.

Durham said the wounds to Ferrell's hand and leg landed him in the hospital for four days.

Durham said Melton and the other officers specifically tried to frame his client for drug possession.

According to Durham, there isn't any doubt the video shows Melton planting the drugs on Ferrell.

Durham is suing the police department, the city and Putnam County. He said the dog attack was blatant use of excessive force.

Police officials declined comment on the tape, citing the pending lawsuit.

Prosecutor-turned-defense attorney Jim Todd doesn't have any vested interest in the case. 

After reviewing the video, Todd said, "It looks excessive. I think any reasonable jury member would think that this guy has a reason not to want to get of that car."

In the video, Melton is seen checking Ferrell's pockets multiple times. He doesn't find anything.

Melton looks toward the camera. Then it appears he reaches into his own shirt pocket and puts the same hand into Ferrell's front pants pocket. 

"What's strange about this video is it appears that the officer does that numerous times," Todd said. "It's hard from this video to determine if the officer has anything in his hand when he does that or if the officer goes to his body or into his pockets prior to going to the other gentleman's pockets."

The police department has to prove the arrest was valid. 

"The burden is on the state to prove somebody guilty beyond a reasonable doubt," Todd said. "There's doubt."

Melton was placed on administrative leave with pay pending the results of the investigation. Melton has worked in the department since November 2005.

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