LIMA — A former Lima police officer has filed a civil lawsuit against the Lima Police Department, the Allen County Sheriff’s Office and employees of each of those offices, alleging his civil rights were violated when he was arrested and jailed overnight more than a year ago.
Christopher Lemke, a former LPD officer who was fired from the force earlier this year following his indictment on charges of the unauthorized use of law enforcement automated database system, is seeking compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $25,000 in the lawsuit that was filed last week in the Allen County Clerk of Courts Office.
Named as defendants are Allen County Sheriff’s Office and deputies Ryan Bullinger and Ryan Ream, the Lima Police Department and officers Sgt. Nick Hart and Lt. Andy Green, and two John Does.
The lawsuit alleges that Lemke was “wrongfully incarcerated on or about Dec. 18-19, 2019, as the result of the defendants’ violation of his civil rights.”
The suit claims that on Dec. 14 Lemke’s wife, Latosha, was arrested as a result of a domestic dispute between the pair. Christopher Lemke at that time was the subject of a Domestic Violence Temporary Protection Order taken out by Latosha Lemke.
On Dec. 18 or 19, the suit alleges, Christopher Lemke attempted to make contact with his wife to advise her the couple’s children wanted to see her. Latosha Lemke contacted her sister, Jealisa Stephenson, to discuss the attempted contact made by her husband.
Stephenson met Hart at the Lima Police Department to provide information and evidence regarding her husband’s attempted contact. Hart and Green then conducted their own investigation into the matter, the suit claims. The LPD officers subsequently contacted the Allen County Sheriff’s Office, and Ream and Bullinger also participated in the investigation.
According to notes from their investigation, the suit alleges, Christopher Lemke attempted to make contact with his wife “a couple of times.” Lemke was arrested and incarcerated overnight. He was released the morning of Dec. 19, 2019.
The suit alleges that Hart, Green, Ream and Bullinger “acted under the color of law” and that there was “no probable cause to arrest and/or falsely imprison” Christopher Lemke in that instance.
The lawsuit further maintains that Hart, Green, Ream and Bullinger “failed to perform a reasonable investigation which would have demonstrated … there was no violation of a protection order.” The Lima Police Department and Allen County Sheriff’s Office were named as defendants in the lawsuit for providing “inadequate” training to the officers.
Christopher Lemke was fired from the Lima Police Department in May 2020 after being indicted by an Allen County grand jury on 12 counts of the unauthorized use of law enforcement’s automated database system.
In November he appeared in court on new charges and entered not guilty pleas to counts of abduction, a third-degree felony with a firearm specification attached, and one fourth-degree felony count of disrupting public services.
He is scheduled to stand trial beginning May 25.