Man suing Gary police claims they fabricated charges
By Teresa Auch Schultz firstname.lastname@example.org December 27, 2012 1:26PM
Updated: December 27, 2012 10:55PM
A Gary man acquitted earlier this year of disorderly conduct is suing the city of Gary in connection to his arrest, claiming a Gary Police Department officer arrested him on fabricated charges.
Russell Thomas, 61, the manager of the Prestige nightclub in Gary, was arrested in December 2010 when police stopped his truck on Broadway. The officers had been investigating a report of gunfire heard in the area.
They initially charged him with carrying a gun without a permit, disorderly conduct and two traffic violations, but prosecutors threw the gun charge out when they discovered Thomas did have a permit. A Lake County jury found him innocent on the disorderly conduct charge after deliberating less than 30 minutes in February.
Thomas claims in his lawsuit, filed Monday in the U.S. District Court in Hammond, that he had the permit on him at the time of the arrest, but that Sgt. Lindal Hairston threw it away.
Thomas filed a complaint against Hairston last year with the Gary Police Civil Service Commission, but it was dismissed after Hairston passed a voice stress test.
Thomas also says in his lawsuit that police took about $500 in cash he had at the time of his arrest and still haven’t given it back, despite several requests from Thomas. He is asking for $1 million in damages from the defendants, which include the police department, Hairston and an unnamed police officer.