Constitutional Principles

Cops Allegedly Raid Bar; Detain and Frisk Employees and Patrons Without a Warrant


Some people who went out for a drink in Louisville, Kentucky Tuesday night allegedly had an apparently unconstitutional run-in with Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers.

According to WDRB, a video shot by someone in a bar allegedly shows an LMPD officer ordering employees and patrons to sit down and wait to be frisked.

“Show of hands, who has something on them that they shouldn’t have?” asked the officer, who announced police would pat down every patron before they could leave.

“We’re going to start over here in this corner,” the officer reportedly said. “We’re going to work our way around, and if we go by, if you’re clean, you get to go out the front door.”

As noted in the report, LMPD said the officers were helping the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) office of the metro government. It seems the raid involved the business’ liquor license.

But apparently that didn’t give them the authority to go as far as they did.

“It appears the actions of one of the officers — who clearly had the word “police” labeled across the back of his shirt — were illegal and unconstitutional,” Thomas Clay, an attorney in Louisville, told WDRB.

According to the story, he said all police could do in this case is ask customers to show identification. He said if police believed there was illegal activity occurring, a warrant would have been required.

“They would have to go to a judge and seek a search warrant, they would have to establish probable cause that criminal activity was going on at these premises,” he said. “That’s what should have been done if they wanted to search these patrons.”

Meanwhile, you may recall this raid involving a strip club. Ten armed police officers wearing bulletproof vests stormed it to verify the strippers had permits and were in compliance.