ABERDEEN, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi woman allegedly sexually assaulted by an on-duty policeman is suing the former officer, the police chief and a north Mississippi city for unspecified damages.
The lawsuit says that while a former Booneville officer was on duty, he detained a woman and assaulted her in a warehouse parking lot. The lawsuit also alleges the police department did not have adequate training and supervision of officers on how to interact with citizens.
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock set a jury trial date of Oct. 2, 2023, for the woman’s civil case against the city of Booneville, the former officer and Police Chief Michael Ramey, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported.
The woman at the center of the suit alleges the officer picked her up near a motel in August 2020 and placed her in a patrol car. He allegedly told her to lie down in the back seat while he drove to a warehouse parking lot. She believed she had been arrested and said she was dragged out of the patrol car and sexually assaulted.
When she told the officer she would report the assault, he allegedly told her no one would believe her over him. She said she was able to run away while he was putting his clothes back on. According to court documents, she said she later gave a statement of the events to the Booneville Police Department.
In the lawsuit, she argues she was arrested and unlawfully confined without due process. In addition to the assault, the lawsuit claims the city knew or should have known about the officer stealing money and drugs from citizens he encountered while on duty.
The officer was forced to resign from the Mississippi Department of Transportation law enforcement division in 2013 after admitting he took money collected for fees, taxes and permits.
In June 2020, the FBI initiated a civil rights investigation of the officer. But the lawsuit said he was not suspended, put on leave or terminated by the city. He was let go in January 2021 and later arrested on federal charges for those incidents, the newspaper reported.
The officer later pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor counts in federal court for the on-duty thefts. The sexual assault charge was dropped and replaced with a felony charge of lying to a federal agent. By dropping the sexual assault charge, he will not have to register as a sex offender.
The officer is currently in a federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas, serving a 16-month sentence.
An attorney for Booneville Police Chief Michael Ramey declined to comment on the ongoing legal proceedings. An attorney for the officer could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.