Millington Police Department, Mayors and YMCA Liable for Neglect and Damages
Attorneys Howard Manis of The Cochran Firm – Memphis and Andy Clarke of the Clarke Law Firm bring multiple suits on behalf of minor children for patterns of sexual assault by Millington Reserve Police Officer Rickie Friar. More victims are expected to come forward.
The City of Millington, Defendant Mayors and Defendant Sheriffs were required to ensure that Friar met minimum qualifications to serve as a police officer, which included passing a thorough background check and attending 80 hours of initial training. Officer Friar is currently serving a sentence for child pornography and was previously terminated from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office for improper conduct regarding female prisoners. This easily accessed information served as public notice that Friar was unfit to serve as a law enforcement officer. Friar did not meet these minimum qualifications as evidenced by public records.
Friar used his authority as a police officer to establish a special relationship of trust with families in the City of Millington, portraying himself as a grandfather figure to engage in patterns of sexual abuse and exploitation of numerous minor children at his home, in his municipal car and in public.
Throughout his employment as an MPD reserve officer, Defendant Friar was allowed to patrol the streets of Millington, made contact with its citizens and befriended families, playing with children, handcuffing them, putting them in his police car and taking photographs. These actions were to gain trust with parents of minor children and groom the children for later sexual abuse and exploitation. Friar specifically targeted families with children raised by single mothers.
Friar used a City of Millington police car, handcuffs, and uniform issued by the MPD, to gain trust and then intimidate his victims. He falsified documents at the YMCA and gave inaccurate information to membership staff to bring children, unrelated to him, to the facility, in violation of YMCA policy, which would have been discovered upon review. YMCA staff knew that Friar was not related to any of the children he brought to the facility, yet refused to enforce the rules and allowed conduct to occur because of Friar’s MPD status. As a result, Friar used the YMCA pool to sexually assault multiple minor children.
Millington, the MPD, Defendants Mayors, Defendant Chiefs, the YMCA and their agents were put on notice by a pool employee at the YMCA, a parent of the YMCA pool employee, and possibly parents of other victims, as to crimes being perpetrated upon minor children. However, neither the YMCA nor Millington documented, reported, investigated and /or stopped Friar’s conduct upon its premises.
Under Tennessee state law and rules of Peace Officer Standards Training (P.O.S.T.), Friar was required to undergo a reserve officer training that consists of a minimum of 80 hours during the first year of employment. The City of Millington, Defendant Mayors and Chiefs failed to provide Friar with the required 80-hour training program at any time during his employment. Further, they allowed him to perform law enforcement duties without the required pairing or supervision of a field-training officer or certified officer. The failure to follow the mandatory minimum guidelines set forth illustrates Defendant Millington’s, Defendant Mayors’ and Defendant Chiefs’ indifference to its obligations to properly hire, investigate, train, and supervise its officers.