Couple Suing Southeast Christian Church, Officers in Traffic Incident

August 18, 2007 — Leave a comment

Like many churches, we hire local police officers to help direct traffic before and after our services at the intersections of our parking lot and access roads. Church volunteers direct traffic on our property. I’ve been surprised to hear that–on rare occasions–some people have even lost their temper with our volunteers, demonstrating their frustration with one finger on one of their hands! This is shocking, especially when we’re talking about people who are on their way to, or from, “worship.”

That being said, we’ve never had an incident as severe as what happened at Southeast Christian Church last August. The church and two officers are being sued because of the incident.

Here’s an excerpt from the Courier Journal in Louisville, Kentucky:

A Louisville couple has filed a lawsuit against Southeast Christian Church and two corrections officers who direct traffic for the church, claiming the officers “assaulted and battered” the pair during a stop after a church service last year.The suit, filed Monday by Bradford Hundley and Jessica Hundley in Jefferson Circuit Court, also names Metro Government and two Metro Corrections officers, Capt. Martin Baker and Officer Kelvin Brooks.The suit claims that on Aug. 6, 2006, the Hundleys were arrested at a Marathon gas station on Blankenbaker Parkway, across the street from the church. Baker and Brooks were off duty directing church traffic when they “falsely imprisoned” the pair, injuring them during an arrest, according to the suit.The suit does not say if the couple were leaving church or just driving by.Bradford Hundley, according to a police report, disregarded an officer’s directions at the intersection of Watterson Trail and Blankenbaker, cut into traffic and argued after being approached by officers.Hundley kicked an officer in the chest while being arrested, according to the police citation. One of the officers used an “arm bar” to gain control of Hundley, according to the report.

The suit claims the church employed the officers, is liable for their actions and should have known they would “abuse the authority given to them,” according to the suit.Cindee Coffee, a spokeswoman for the church, said she has seen the suit and “we are looking into the situation.” Coffee said Baker and Brooks still direct traffic for the church.

Now . . . for the real “fun” . . . let me share with you some of the comments this story has generated on the Courier Journal website:

–Not only do I believe the folks suing the officers, I understand their frustration with the traffic jam that is involved every time there is a service at Six Flags over Jesus, aka Southeast (hypo)christian Church. That state highway is a through way, and traffic control there should be focused on getting the rest of us through there, not making it so easy for folks to sit wasting gas going to the see-and-be-seen social events that are the real focus of this eyesore. I think that SECC should be paying a huge tax to the county too offset the inconvenience the rest of us face every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings and four jams on Sunday.

–Does this couple think they’re above the law? They think they’re allowed to disobey the directions of the police and to resist arrest? Who do they think they are? This is ridiculous. And as for the Courier-Journal, why don’t you guys start writing articles about how Southeast helps the less fortunate pay their mortgages during difficult months? Or how they send countless volunteers to New Orleans to help people they don’t know rebuild their homes that were destroyed by Katrina (which not many other people seem to care about anymore, so at least this church does). Yeah, go ahead and try to stir up more controversy — that’s what sells papers, right?

–This case is going nowhere. The church over there (a pretty fine place indeed) is protected by the First Amendment — that is a clear exercise of religion and a judge will dismiss this suit in due course. It is just these kinds of frivolous lawsuits that are going to drive our churches away and across the river to Indiana. The insurance they have to pay is insane. Shame on these people. shame.

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