Officer injunction ruling sent to Court of Appeals

Published 10:53 am Monday, July 15, 2019

An emergency appeal was filed Thursday claiming a Clark County judge erred in granting a temporary injunction in favor of Winchester Police officer and Clark County magistrate Travis Thompson.

In documents filed Thursday with the Kentucky Court of Appeals, attorney Rob Johnson, who represents Clark County Attorney William Elkins, said Clark Circuit Judge Brandy Oliver Brown should not have granted the injunction June 21, which allowed Thompson to continue serving in both positions.

On June 21, Brown converted an existing temporary restraining order to a temporary injunction, which is more lasting.

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Johnson argues Thompson did not file a motion requesting the injunction and proper notice was not given to Johnson and Elkins.

Johnson also argues the injunction was based solely on monetary damages, which is against existing case law.

In the June hearing, Brown granted the injunction to maintain the status quo when the original suit was filed in March as a police officer and magistrate.

She also cited possible harm to the community if Thompson was placed on administrative duty.

Johnson argues the status quo was that Thompson was on administrative duty when the case was filed, and he should be returned to those duties.

“The county has now been forced to abide by an order that is wrong in being granted and is wrong in allowing a Winchester police officer to have arrest powers when said authority is clearly absent based upon the officer also holding an elected Clark County Magistrate office…” Johnson wrote.

State law prohibits one person from holding a county office and a municipal office at the same time.

The city received letters from the Kentucky Attorney General’s office and the Kentucky League of Cities advising they consider a police officer to be a hired position, rather than an elected or appointed officer of the city.

The case revolves around whether Thompson can serve as a city police officer and an elected county magistrate, and whether the oath he took as magistrate supersedes the one he took as an officer.

Thompson and the City of Winchester maintain the two positions are not incompatible.

Elkins has said Thompson has been acting as an officer without authority, and has dismissed several of Thompson’s cases.

Elkins also said it creates a conflict of interest with a city officer voting on county matters.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email or call 859-759-0051.

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