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Settlement reached in traffic stop lawsuit where former LMPD officer violated teen's rights

Tae-Ahn Lea, 18, was pulled over by officers for an improper wide turn in his mom's car in 2018.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — There has been a settlement reached in a lawsuit where a former Louisville Metro Police (LMPD) officer violated a teenager's rights during a viral traffic stop in 2018.

Tae-Ahn Lea, 18, was pulled over by officers for an improper wide turn in his mom's car. 

Judge Greg Stivers determined that former LMPD officer Kevin Crawford violated Lea's fourth amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure over a year after the initial stop. 

According to court documents, Crawford repeatedly asked if Lea had any weapons or drugs on him, which Lea denied.

There was a baseball bat between the passenger seat and console, which an officer asked about and Lea said was a small souvenir Louisville Slugger.

Crawford then opened the car's door and told Lea to exit the vehicle. 

The LMPD officer then frisked and handcuffed Lea while his vehicle was searched by K-9 and officers. Nothing illegal was found inside the car and he was issued a citation for the improper turn.

The lawsuit, filed in 2019, argues Crawford unlawfully conducted a pat-down search of Lea, prolonging the traffic stop beyond its initial purpose, which Stivers agreed violated his fourth amendment rights.

Stivers ruled that there was no reasonable suspicion of criminal activity that justified detaining Lea beyond the traffic infraction investigation.

As part of the ruling, the judge dismissed the lawsuit against other officers named in the suit.

Officials said the city is ordered to pay $375,000 to Lea -- with his attorney confirming the settlement amount to WHAS11 News on Friday morning.

While Crawford no longer works at LMPD, he was hired by Jeffersonville Police in 2019. 

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