Before he was arrested earlier this month for domestic violence, Louisville Metro Police Officer Harry Seeders had a long history of similar allegations. The police department was aware of this record when they hired him.
Seeders, 30, was arrested June 4 on two counts of fourth-degree assault after he allegedly hit, shoved and strangled a woman he was dating. Seeders is out on a $2,500 bond. He was already on administrative leave from LMPD for shooting and killing Louisville resident Brian Allen Thurman in November 2020 during a traffic stop in the Portland neighborhood.
Through his lawyer, Seeders declined to comment, citing pending litigation.
Years earlier, Seeders was twice accused of domestic violence by the mother of his child. In 2009, when their son was seven months old, Seeders and the woman accused each other of domestic violence; both were granted emergency protective orders against each other. The order was dismissed at the request of the petitioners five days later. That case appears to have been expunged from Seeders’ record sometime after January 2016, according to records provided by the Bullitt County Courthouse.
In 2011, he was arrested and charged with fourth-degree assault against the same woman. According to court records, Seeders was visiting her to drop off a child support check. The complaint says the woman told Seeders to leave, and Seeders asked her to “come over to the couch and ‘suck his d—.’” When the woman refused, Seeders allegedly grabbed her by the neck.
“I told him to let go because I couldn’t breath[e]. He then threw me down on the couch beside him and said ‘F—- you and you can tell your boyfriend to suck my d— too,’” the complaint reads.
The judge granted the woman a domestic violence order, preventing Seeders from being within 500 feet of her, her children, family or residence for three years. The judge also ordered Seeders to attend a domestic batterer intervention program.
The fourth-degree assault charge was amended down to harassment without physical contact, and dismissed after Seeders completed a diversion program.
In July 2013, the woman filed a motion to drop the 2011 domestic violence protection order. The judge dismissed the case the same month.
Seeders was once again arrested in August 2016 in Jefferson County, this time for domestic violence against his girlfriend at the time. That case has been expunged, so the records aren’t publicly available. But the woman he assaulted told WFPL News that Seeders took her phone, broke it, smashed a hole in the wall of their apartment and slammed her into a chest of drawers.
At one point, she said, he pinned her down with his full weight and strangled her. She said he only stopped attacking her when the neighbors called the police because she was screaming so loudly.
WFPL does not name victims of domestic violence.
The woman recalled that he was charged and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. She said she believed at the time that he regretted his actions and wouldn’t do it again, and agreed to tell the prosecutor that. She said he didn’t hit her again, but she wishes she had seen his actions for the manipulation she now feels they were.
“This [June 2021] case sounds like literally what happened to me,” she said. “I wish I would have said something then, but I believed what he was telling me.”
There is no record of this case in public-facing court record databases. Two people told WFPL that Seeders got the case expunged because he wanted to apply to LMPD and that, in fact, he had applied to the department and been rejected several times before he was hired in 2018.
He previously worked in loss prevention at Wal-Mart and served in the military overseas as part of the Kentucky Army National Guard, according to court records.
The woman involved in the 2016 case said Seeders left in October of that year to work in Afghanistan doing private security. He returned in January 2017. His young son died of a brain aneurysm the next month. The couple broke up not long after.
“I was shocked when he [was hired],” she said. “He needs help, because he’s gone through a lot. Psychological help, which is devastating to hear about a police officer, because I don’t think he’s gotten the help he needs [at the department].”
Seeders was hired and started at the LMPD Academy in February 2018, according to LMPD spokesperson Beth Ruoff.
Ruoff said the department was aware of the two protective orders and two arrests, and that Seeders provided documentation of the expungements in the 2009 and 2016 cases.
She confirmed that Officer Seeders made it to the background check stage once, for an unsuccessful application, before getting hired. The background check process that preceded his hire began in October 2017, she said.
Ruoff said domestic violence orders “do factor into the hiring process. If they are active an individual can not be hired. If they are inactive it is a case by case situation.”
Reporters Ryan Van Velzer, Ryland Barton and Jess Clark contributed to this story.