Oct. 19—FLOYD COUNTY — A Corydon man investigators say was wrongly charged after a New Albany police officer is said to have planted drugs on him is preparing to take legal action against the officer, department and chief.
Shane Clarke, who was arrested and jailed for 13 days after a traffic stop in May in New Albany, has filed a notice of tort claim against New Albany Officer Adam Schneider, the New Albany Police Department, Chief Todd Bailey and unidentified officers.
Schneider is facing felony charges for obstruction of justice and official misconduct filed in Floyd County in July after an investigation into events leading up to and including the May 22 stop and arrest of Clarke.
The News and Tribune previously reported that Schneider, who remains on unpaid suspension from the department, was arrested when allegations surfaced that he had been having a sexual relationship with a confidential informant between May and June.
Court records show he had on several occasions failed to charge the female informant when he found her to be in possession of methamphetamine, and that when he stopped the informant and a man now identified as Clarke in a stop the informant had arranged, he took the woman's drugs and made them appear as though Clarke had been in possession of them.
The police report Schneider generated from that stop reads that he had stopped the two in the 1700 block of Spring Street; the informant was driving and Clarke was a passenger. The report states that the driver gave consent to search her car, and that during the search Schneider found a clear plastic bag with methamphetamine as well as a glass pipe in the door compartment next to Clarke. He said without being asked, Clarke stated that “the meth is mine, she did not know I had it in her vehicle,” according to the report.
Clarke was charged with a level 6 felony for possession of methamphetamine, a class C misdemeanor for possession of paraphernalia and a habitual offender enhancement. He was incarcerated for 13 days until making bond June 3. However the charges have now been dismissed, following a motion by the state to do so.
The notice of tort filed in September by Bart Betteau, representing Clarke, states that they are seeking $700,000 in compensatory damages in the case. When noticed with an intention to file a tort claim, a government entity has 90 days to respond before a lawsuit can be filed and Betteau confirmed that as of Tuesday, there had been no response.
“The issue is this is heinous, this is especially egregious. Nobody out there no matter how pro law enforcement thinks that planting evidence is ever justified, and it should scare the hell out of everybody because this could be them. People need to think about that, how easy it is.
“Because when most people read the probable cause affidavit, they just assume it is true because people like to believe police officers. This type of thing just shakes the very foundations of what we were taught as children, to rely on the police and trust the police. Think how wrong it is for a person who's sworn to uphold the law to completely try to get somebody wrongly convicted.”
When asked, New Albany city attorney Shane Gibson said the matter had been turned over to the city's insurance carrier and that he was unable to comment based on the potential and threatened litigation.
In the course of the Floyd County criminal investigation into Schneider, evidence was discovered that police say shows the officer had also surreptitiously filmed two females who had been changing clothes in a business operated out of his Memphis home. Two days before the Floyd County charges were filed, the Clark County prosecutor's office filed two level 6 felonies for voyeurism related to those findings.
Schneider is now out on bond in both cases. He has a pretrial conference scheduled for Nov. 23 in the Floyd County case. In the Clark County case, he has a final pretrial conference scheduled for Nov. 23 with a jury trial scheduled for Dec. 9 at 8 a.m. in Clark County Circuit Court No. 3.Internet Explorer Channel Network