Five of six University of Kentucky football players who were charged last year with burglary and later cleared are now fighting back by filing a federal lawsuit against the Lexington Police Department.
Andru Phillips, Vito Tisdale, Reuben Adams, JuTahn McClain, and Joel Williams filed separate lawsuits Wednesday against the police department, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Police Chief Lawrence Weathers, and two individual police officers, according to Lex18.com.
Those burglary charges in connection with a March 2021 fight at a frat party. Those charges were later dropped by a Fayette County grand jury. If indicted, each player could have faced 10 years in prison.
“The lawsuits allege malicious prosecution, fabrication of false evidence, failure to intervene, conspiracy to deprive constitutional rights, and defamation.
The lawsuits detail the events that led up to Phillips, Tisdale, and four other UK football players being charged with burglary. The charges against all six players were dismissed after a grand jury decided not to indict them. An investigation by the university also found no wrongdoing by the players.
At the time of the charges, police accused the six of “forcing entry” into a home on Forest Park Drive. Police had alleged that the group was asked to leave, and then been involved in a fight with people at the home that left multiple people injured.
In the lawsuits filed Wednesday, it states that the players who went to the Alpha Sigma Phi party at the Forest Park Drive home on March 6, 2021, had thought it was an “open invite.” But when two of the players, Reuben Adams and Joel Williams, arrived at the party, multiple people started calling them racial slurs and telling them to leave, according to the lawsuit.”
Adams and Williams no longer attend Kentucky, but Phillips, McClain and Tisdale still play for the Wildcats.
Earnest Sanders, who has since transferred to Saginaw Valley State, was also charged in the March 2021 incident, but is not involved with the lawsuit.