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Kentucky football players sue police over false burglary accusations

"This lawsuit is another tragic example of the damage caused by corrupt policing in America," one of the players' attorneys said. Photo courtesy Loevy & Loevy/UPI
"This lawsuit is another tragic example of the damage caused by corrupt policing in America," one of the players' attorneys said. Photo courtesy Loevy & Loevy/UPI

Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Five current and former University of Kentucky football players are suing police for their handling of a burglary investigation last year that falsely suspected them of being involved in the crime.

The players are suing Lexington police, arguing that the investigating officer sought to "frame and defame" them after fraternity members at the party subjected them to racial slurs and instigated a fight.

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Kentucky players Reuben Adams, JuTahn McClain, Andru Phillips, Devito Tisdale and Joel Williams filed the legal complaints, which say police officer Cory Vinlove made up false charges without probable cause and the ordeal led to "a torrent of social media and other public abuse."

The players are Black and Vinlove is White. Phillips, McClain and Tisdale are still on Kentucky's football team.

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All five players were later cleared of the burglary charges by a grand jury. The University of Kentucky football team suspended them during the investigation and allowed them to return when they were cleared.

"This lawsuit is another tragic example of the damage caused by corrupt policing in America," attorney Elliot Slosar, who filed the suits, said in a statement. "It is shocking how Officer Cory Vinlove, in spite of objective evidence and the University of Kentucky's thorough investigation, damaged so many lives.

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"As the lawsuits demonstrate, these five young Black men were targeted by a White officer with an axe to grind and determined to make a name for himself."

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Police officer Donnell Gordon, Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers and the Lexington-Fayette County Urban Government are also named as defendants in the lawsuits.

A police spokesperson said that the department will let the legal process play out before they comment on the accusations.

This season, Kentucky is 3-0 so far and ranked No. 9 in the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll and No. 8 in the Associated Press Top 25.

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