News Director’s Note: This story contains allegations made by an individual in a lawsuit filed in federal court. Allegations that are mentioned in this civil complaint have not been proven true in a court of law. WJRS News is attaching the civil complaint at the end of the story.
A civil lawsuit filed in federal court in Bowling Green last week makes several allegations against members of the Russell County Sheriff’s Office and Kentucky State Police.
The lawsuit, filed by Rebecca England who is represented by attorney Matthew DeHart, lists RCSO deputies Kenny Perkins, Clint Pace, Ronnie Golden, and Jerry Melton as defendants. The lawsuit also lists KSP Post 15 troopers Zachary Scott, Billy Begley, and Jacob Harper. Russell County Sheriff Derek Polston is also a defendant in the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court on March 17.
In the lawsuit, England claims that the defendants violated her constitutional rights through a number of actions and is seeking monetary damages for those actions, including “harassment, false imprisonment, illegal search and seizure, intimidation. intentional infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of physical violence, and injury upon Plaintiffs body, intentionally causing the Plaintiff personal injury, pain, suffering and emotional distress.”
In the lawsuit, England alleges five different instances of misconduct by law enforcement, spanning from June 2019 to Feb. 2021.
In the first incident, England claims she was a passenger in a vehicle she owned attempting to leave Lake Cumberland State Resort Park where she encountered a roadblock set up by Kentucky State Police near the park’s entrance. England claims she was arrested for driving under the influence despite being a passenger in the vehicle. She further claims that she was denied her right to legal counsel.
The lawsuit states that those charges against England were dismissed on Dec. 9 , 2019 due to the illegal nature of the roadblock.
A second incident occurred ten days after the dismissal of those charges, when England claimed she awoke to eight officers in her home on Parks Ridge Road. The lawsuit states the officers entered the home with an arrest warrant for England issued upon an affidavit sworn by Deputy Perkins. England claims she was handcuffed, removed from her residence, and pushed down her front steps, causing an injury to her ankle. England further claims in the lawsuit that she was handcuffed, placed in a cruiser, and her residence was searched without a search warrant and without her consent.
England said she posted bond 15 days after arriving at Russell County Detention Center, which was delayed as she states in the lawsuit she had to seek care at Russell County Hospital due to the ankle injury. Days after her preliminary hearing, the charges were dismissed without prejudice, the lawsuit states. England was never indicted by a grand jury on the charges and “said action has been expunged.”
A third incident occurred in March 2020, according to the lawsuit. England said she was operating a vehicle on West Wilson Road just after noon on March 17, 2020, when she was pulled over by Deputy Kenny Perkins. The lawsuit claims that Perkins walked to England’s window, asked for her license, and after handing Perkins the license, he demanded she get out of the vehicle “using coarse language.”
England claims that she asked Perkins to call another officer but Perkins refused to do so. Perkins eventually forcibly removed England from the vehicle, according to the lawsuit and handcuffed her left hand and “began twisting her wrist upward causing significant pain.”
England further claims that Perkins pulled her toward him and “pressed his genitals against her” despite her demanding to call for another officer and to stop doing so.
She claims that as she pulled away from Perkins, she inadvertently called someone on her phone and when she heard a voice, she screamed for the person to call 911. She claims that Perkins grabbed her phone and threw it onto the pavement and told her he would use a tazer on her “but it would leave a mark” and told her she was going to “eat pavement with her face.”
England states in the lawsuit that Perkins handcuffed her other hand and threw her in a ditch before going to talk to a motorist who pulled up behind his car. According to the lawsuit, he then returned and retrieved her, placed her in the cruiser, and informed her she was under arrest on the charge of resisting arrest. The lawsuit states that Perkins called dispatch to send two other officers to the wrong road (McClendon Ridge Road) to help search the vehicle.
England said when she was taken to Russell County Hospital, she learned she was being charged with DUI as well. She claimed that when she arrived at Russell County Detention Center, she informed a deputy jailer of what transpired regarding the alleged assault. The deputy jailer took it up the chain of command, which ultimately came back to RCSO.
England posted bond and was released the following morning, and met with Deputy Jerry Melton, who handles internal affairs for RCSO, about an hour after being released. England claims in the lawsuit that Melton “attempted to intimidate her” into not reporting the incident by threatening her with perjury charges if she filed a formal complaint. England claims in the lawsuit that to her knowledge, the complaint was never filed, investigated, or acted upon.
England alleges in the lawsuit that on Oct. 25, 2020, her son Zachariah Roby was operating a vehicle she owned on Highway 910 with two juvenile passengers also in the car. According to the lawsuit, England said she was slightly ahead of Roby when Deputy Pace pulled his vehicle behind Roby and activated the lights and sirens. According to England, Roby made his intentions clear that he planned to stop and pull over by activating his flashers and slowing to a speed of approximately 25 mph while looking for a place to safely stop.
England alleges in the lawsuit that Pace attempted to ram Roby’s vehicle and cause him to lose control, but never made significant contact. Roby pulled into the parking lot of Superior Battery, where the lawsuit states Pace immediately exited his vehicle and ran to Roby’s vehicle, opening the door and physically extracting him from the vehicle. The lawsuit alleges that Pace held Roby face down on the pavement and placed a firearm to his head while shouting at him.
According to the lawsuit, Trooper Scott arrived behind Deputy Pace and extracted the two juveniles from the vehicle. England said when she arrived at the scene, the two juveniles, ages 12 and 15, were being held at gunpoint by Trooper Scott.
England said in the lawsuit she later learned that Pace initiated the traffic stop because he believed one headlight was dimmer than the other but the lawsuit states that at 5:37 p.m. on Oct. 25, it was still daylight. England also claims that Pace threatened to indict her son for not finding a place to pull over sooner.
The incident, England claims, was never reported to dispatch and no use of force report was made, to her knowledge.
The last incident reported in the lawsuit occurred on Jan. 31, 2021, when England said she was fishing at Helm’s Landing on the Cumberland River while waiting to pick up her son from kayaking on the river.
The lawsuit alleges Perkins and Deputy Golden entered the parking area and approached England, asking for her fishing license. After a brief interrogation, England said she told the deputies she needed to pick up her son, at which point the deputies walked back toward her vehicle.
England said she called her employer, Matthew DeHart, to pick her up and drive her to Rockhouse to pick up her son due to prior incidents with Perkins. While on the phone with DeHart, England said she heard Perkins tell Golden that England “is not going home today.”
England claims in the lawsuit that Perkins made a comment to her about the folder in her car, which contained documents and paperwork relating to this lawsuit and another legal action that has yet to be filed. She claims in the lawsuit that when she examined the file folder, she noticed it had been tampered with.
DeHart picked up England to go to Rockhouse to pick up her son, and after arrival, waited several minutes before exiting the parking area and going to an overlook area to see if they could spot her son kayaking on the river. The lawsuit says the two drove back to Rockhouse to wait, and after nearly half an hour, England walked to the river to try to spot her son. While walking back, she said she noticed a Kentucky State Police vehicle followed by Perkins and Golden pulling into the Rockhouse parking area.
England claims in the lawsuit she was walking back to the vehicle when she saw Trooper Harper instructing DeHart to exit his vehicle. The lawsuit claims that DeHart refused any testing other than a preliminary breath test, referencing a hip injury.
Harper told the two they were being detained for “eluding” and Deputy Golden ran his dog around the vehicle thoroughly without any alerts, according to the lawsuit. DeHart refused to consent to a search of the vehicle, at which point he was handcuffed, arrested, and placed in the KSP vehicle. The lawsuit claims that Harper searched DeHart’s vehicle for 45 minutes. Harper also searched England by rubbing his hands over the outside of her clothing without her consent, according to the lawsuit.
The following day, Feb. 1, England claims that she and DeHart were leaving his law office on the Jamestown square and traveling to a residence on Stephens Ridge Road nearly five miles away for a house call. She claims in the lawsuit she and DeHart were followed by two RCSO vehicles all the way to the residence before turning around.
The full civil complaint that was filed in federal court can be viewed in its entirety at the link below through a downloadable PDF file.