PHOENIX - Three Phoenix Police officers have filed a federal lawsuit against the State of Arizona and the City of Phoenix, claiming they experienced financial losses and mental health issues as a result of a theft investigation into their off-duty security work.
Attorneys representing the plaintiffs, Steven Peck, Aaron Lentz, Ben Sywarungsymun, and Lentz's wife, Shannon, filed the suit Tuesday.
The suit also names specific individuals who worked for the City of Phoenix or the State of Arizona during the time of the investigation, including Attorney General Tom Horne.
In November 2010, Peck, Lentz, and Sywarunsymun were indicted after they were accused of accepting payments for off-duty security work they didn't complete at a townhome complex in southeast Phoenix in 2005 and 2006.
In 2011, the charges against the three officers were dropped.
Tuesday's lawsuit alleges the officers' Constitutional rights were violated during the multi-year investigation. Lin Wood, and Steve Serbalik, attorneys who represent the three officers, say the officers' reputations were damaged as a result of the case and the subsequent media coverage.
"You can't unring the bell," said Wood. "When you put them in rogues gallery of criminals with their mug shots, and you have them spread across the media and the front page as accused felons - when they don't get re-indicted it's what I would consider the whisper of innocence," he said.
The attorneys say they are prepared to take the case to a jury trial.
According to a spokesperson for Attorney General Tom Horne, Amy Rezzonico, "The complaint refers to events that occurred prior to Horne taking office."
Rezzonico told the ABC15 Investigators she would not be commenting further about the suit.
The ABC15 Investigators also reached out to former Attorney General Terry Goddard, who is also named in the suit. He did not respond by our deadline.
A spokeswoman for the City of Phoenix, Toni Maccarone told ABC15, the City's law department had not yet received a copy of the lawsuit when we contacted them for a comment.