Hopkinsville PD officer resigns after entering, searching home w - WSMV News 4

Hopkinsville PD officer resigns after entering, searching home without warrant

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HOPKINSVILLE, KY (WSMV) -

A Hopkinsville police officer is out of a job after an internal investigation found he violated the constitutional rights of several people.

Body-camera footage obtained by the News 4 I-Team shows exactly why Officer Jason Brent resigned from the Hopkinsville Police Department.

The video showed Brent enter a home on South Campbell Street in Hopkinsville four times without the proper consent or search warrant.

Brent responded to the home in July after receiving a call about possible drug activity. The officer knocked on the door several times without receiving a response.

“If you open the door and talk to me, I will not make this miserable,” Brent said. “If you want to play games, I will make your life a living hell.”

Eventually, two men stepped outside the residence, neither admitting they lived in the home.

After one man admitted to smoking marijuana, Brent set out to find it.

The officer entered the home -- not once, but twice. 

For privacy reasons, the City of Hopkinsville redacted video recorded inside the residence, but audio recordings revealed Brent found a gun inside the home.

“Look, dude, it’s laying in the floor,” Brent told the men. “It’s not covered up, it’s laying in the floor on top of the carpet. Ray Charles can see it.”

At that point, Brent had entered the home twice. Only then did he mention a search warrant or consent form.

“I’m going to ask for a consent to search and you sign the paperwork saying you go ahead,” Brent said. “Or I’ll leave you here on the front porch ‘til noon, however long it takes to get a search warrant.”

An attorney denied Brent’s request for that search warrant, but the officer entered the home again anyway on two occasions.

The search turned up no marijuana but police arrested the two men, who were convicted felons, for possessing a handgun.

Less than three weeks later, Brent found himself under investigation.

“Right is right and wrong is wrong, regardless of who you are,” said Clayton Sumner, the chief of the Hopkinsville Police Department.

An internal investigation found Brent violated policies over consent, search warrants, and body cameras.

“Officer Brent violated the constitutional rights of the owner and occupants of the residence by making entry into the home four times without proper consent or a search warrant,” a document read.

In a report initially submitted by Brent, the officer said he was given consent to enter the living room even though he went into other rooms after consent and the warrant was denied.

The report states at one point Brent turned off the body camera while entering the home.

In August, the chief deputy in charge of the investigation recommended Brent be fired, but the officer resigned on Sept. 5.

The prosecutor in Christian County told the I-Team the charges against the two men arrested July 21 were dismissed.

Sumner said one of his own officers came forward to report the incident. He said the process is a testament to the fact his department holds itself accountable.

“This could have potentially been swept away and no one would have known about it,” Sumner said. “They didn’t allow that to happen.”

The I-Team reached out to City Attorney Doug Willen about whether Brent could potentially face charges. Willen has yet to respond.

Multiple attempts to reach Brent for this story were unsuccessful. At the time of his resignation, he had worked for HPD for six years.

In 2016, he was disciplined for initiating a traffic stop in his personal vehicle while off-duty.

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