Watkins counters that the lawsuit has never been about money; rather, it's an attempt to curb the rising number of false complaints that criminals use as leverage against police.

Of the 469 complaints made to internal affairs last year, 44 percent were found to be true and factual allegations that could merit disciplinary action, according St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department records. Some 43 percent of complaints were dismissed for lack of sufficient evidence, while just 6 percent were dismissed for being patently false.

"Even that's terribly alarming when you consider what it puts the officer through," says Watkins. "How do you think Officer Haman's wife reacted to these allegations? These false reports completely compromise the integrity of internal affairs and the officers who protect and serve."

Peter O. Zierlein

Earlier this month, Harris retained St. Louis defense attorney Philip Dennis to represent her in the civil suit and against any criminal charges that may result from her complaint against Haman.

Dennis says his first order of business is to submit to the court the paperwork and motions that Harris failed to file when she represented herself. He then plans to attack the merits of the case.

"Here you have an incident that could have gone quietly away, but instead you have the plaintiffs making this as public as they can," argues Dennis.

"Are they that concerned about the reputation of this officer, or are they more concerned with quashing all complaints made against the police?" he says. "To me it sounds like a warning. File a charge that gets dismissed and you better watch out, because now we're going to sue you and ask the circuit attorney to file criminal charges, too."

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