Louisville man claims JCPS bus driver and police officer falsely accused him of assault

  • In US
  • 2022-10-03 16:41:01Z
  • By The Courier Journal

Update: The two sides reached a settlement, the terms of which were not disclosed, in August 2022 to conclude the case.

A man who was accused last year of helping assault a Jefferson County Public Schools bus driver, only to see his case later dropped, is suing a police major and the bus driver, claiming a "wrongful" arrest.

Police arrested Cecil Snowden IV in September 2019 and accused him of assaulting Timothy Raeber, a JCPS bus driver, during an Aug. 28, 2019, altercation at Roy Wilkins Avenue and West Chestnut Street.

Maj. Keith Kiper, a JCPS security officer, said in a police report that the incident began earlier that day at Eastern High School when two female students got into a verbal altercation.

One of the students was Snowden's daughter, according to police, and school staff kept her off the bus prior to it leaving Eastern High School.

The bus left the school and stopped at Roy Wilkins Avenue and West Chestnut Street, where police said the half-brother of the female student who was kept off the bus boarded it "uninvited" and against the bus driver's orders.

The male suspect allegedly began punching Raeber before the two stumbled outside, where authorities accused Snowden, 42, of joining in on the assault of the bus driver.

The assault left Raeber with injuries to his nose, jaw and back, according to a police report.

Background: Judge dismisses case against Louisville man accused of attacking JCPS bus driver

Snowden was arrested Sept. 24, 2019, on a warrant after police said the bus driver identified him through a photo on social media.

But in November 2019, a Jefferson District Court judge dismissed the third-degree assault charge against Snowden.

Snowden's attorney in the criminal case, Alan Rubin, had told The Courier Journal following the dismissal that based on witness accounts, "it is pretty clear this was an unfortunate case of mistaken identity."

"In fact, the first time Cecil knew anything about this incident was when he was stopped and arrested by the police on his way to work," Rubin said last year.

Snowden filed a lawsuit Sept. 21 against Kiper and Raeber in Jefferson Circuit Court.

Snowden's attorney in his civil case, Shaun Wimberly, reiterated to The Courier Journal that his client was not "anywhere near the area when this incident occurred."

If authorities would have "just done an investigation, they should have known that my client wasn't the individual involved," Wimberly said.

"This is your classic case of let's find the first individual that we can blame," Wimberly added.

Snowden claims in his lawsuit that Kiper and Raeber "acted with deliberate falsehood" and showed "reckless disregard for the truth in providing false evidence and testimony of material facts" that led to his arrest and more than one month on home incarceration.

Kiper's investigation was "fraudulent" and included him and Raeber becoming "outraged" by the fact that Snowden was the father of the femalestudent who was removed from the bus prior to the alleged assault, the complaint says.

The officer and bus driver then sought out Snowden "for revenge from the assault ... to the point that they fabricated evidence and provided false testimony," the complaint alleges.

Claims made in a lawsuit represent only one side of a case.

A JCPS spokesperson said the district does not comment on pending litigation.

The suit identifies Kiper as a Louisville Metro Police Department major, but an LMPD spokesperson told The Courier Journal that Kiper works for JCPS.

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Snowden told The Courier Journal that his arrest last year caused him to lose his job and that his perceived image as a criminal has still left him struggling to support his family.

"It really bothered me," Snowden said. "... I just take it one day at a time and try to stay out of people's way, like I always did.

"They slandered my name," he added. "I can't even walk around with people saying the same stuff ... I did nothing."

The lawsuit says Snowden's constitutional rights were violated through his "false arrest" and "malicious prosecution," among other claims.

The other suspect in the assault case, Leonti Colbert, was arrested in October 2019.

Colbert's alleged altercation with Raeber inside the bus was captured on surveillance footage, according to an arrest citation.

Police said Colbert, 24, was also known to JCPS staff from his time as a student, and the bus driver identified him through a photo.

Colbert was ordered in August to serve a diversion program that will end in 2025 if he avoids any new arrests, according to court records.

Among other requests, Snowden's complaint says he is seeking unspecified damages to deter the defendants from "continuing their course of conduct."

Reach Billy Kobin at bkobin@courierjournal.com. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: courier-journal.com/subscribe.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Louisville man sues officer, JCPS bus driver, claims false arrest


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