Jul 5, 2013 3:27 PM by AP(PHOTO COURTESY: MGN ONLINE)
DERIDDER, La. (AP) - Two women have sued Merryville's former police chief, accusing James Fowler of stopping their car without justification and making them submit to a strip search on the street.
The Town of Merryville and the Merryville Police Department are co-defendants, The American Press reported Thursday.
Fowler did not immediately answer a telephone message from The Associated Press at his home Friday. Calls to Town Hall were not answered. Police Chief Jason Lanier did not immediately answer a call for comment.
Fowler pleaded guilty in April to abusing his office and was sentenced to 60 days in jail.
The suit was filed in March, about a year after the alleged incident.
Merryville and its police department asked in April for it to be moved from district court to federal court.
The women claim that in March 2012, a Merryville Police Department employee stopped their vehicle without reason and brought in a police dog that either was cued to give a false alert or did so on its own.
They had to strip at the scene and were ordered to squat while naked, the suit alleges.
One woman spent five days in the parish jail, according to the suit, which alleges that Fowler intentionally delayed submitting a report to delay bond which ultimately was set at $500.
The suit alleges that Fowler had a history "of making vehicle stops without probable cause and attempting to romantically engage young women."