Black man suing police department for $700,000 over mistaken identity arrest that left him with broken arm
Bodycam footage of Valdosta police arresting Antonio Arnelo Smith: Valdosta police
A 46-year-old black man in Georgia who claims police officers used excessive force while wrongfully arresting him has sued the Valdosta Police Department.
Antonio Arnelo Smith sued the department for $ 700,000 after a city police officer held him from behind and beat him to the ground. The officials said they were investigating "suspicious activity" and confused Mr. Smith as a suspect.
The lawsuit also requires trial.
According to the Valdosta Daily Times, the lawsuit mentions Valdosta's mayor, Scott James Matheson, city council members, the city's police chief, Leslie Manahan, and three officials involved in the arrest as suspects.
The officials replied to a report about panhandling in front of a pharmacy. According to the lawsuit, officials who responded to the call contacted a man near the pharmacy and released his information. They found that the man had a pending warrant and arrested him.
As soon as this man was in custody, the officer asked a colleague - who had just arrived - to look for another man near the pharmacy who had allegedly asked customers for money. The officer wanted to find the man to see if the pharmacy wanted to indict him.
Although the man had no description of the man, he went in search of a suspect and found Mr. Smith nearby.
Bodycam footage taken by the Valdosta Daily Times provided insight into the incident.
On the video, an official speaks to Mr. Smith and claims that he is investigating "suspicious activity" related to the pharmacy. Mr. Smith defends himself and explains that he was waiting in the pharmacy for his sister to transfer money to him. Mr. Smith insists that he is innocent, that the pharmacy staff know who he is, and that nearby surveillance cameras would prove that he did nothing illegal.
The officer asks for ID and Mr. Smith hands over his ID. During the exchange, another officer approaches Mr. Smith from behind and grabs his arm. When Mr. Smith responds, the officer hugs him with a bear. Mr. Smith shouts that he has done nothing and the officer who holds him asks him to put his arms behind his back. After Mr. Smith was asked for the third time, the officer hit Mr. Smith face-first in the ground. As a result, Mr. Smith's arm breaks and the police handcuff him.
As soon as the police find that Mr. Smith has been injured - he is crying from the pain in the video - the officers remove the handcuffs. The officers then found that the suspect they were looking for had already been arrested and that they had mistakenly attacked Mr. Smith.
The officials finally help Mr. Smith with his injuries. He refuses medical care and is allowed to leave the scene.
After the encounter, Mr. Smith went to the hospital, was fitted with a sling, and said he needed physical therapy to recover from his injury.
According to the responding officers, Mr. Smith was "in a" blade "position" while "discussing or debating" with them.
"Based on what I saw and believed that this person had an arrest warrant against him, I grabbed his right wrist. I felt Smith tense and began to pull away from me. At that time, I wrapped my arms around Smith Hug, "wrote the sergeant who had beaten Mr. Smith in his report.
The sergeant wrote in his report that Mr. Smith had not followed his instructions to put his arms behind his back. The officer pulled him off balance and rolled him to the ground to gain control of him, awaiting warrant warrant. "
Regarding the injury, the sergeant states that he was "not sure how Smith's injury occurred, whether he put his arm aside or between us."
Attorney Nathaniel Haugabrook, Mr. Smith's lawyer, said he believed it was a civil rights case. He said the officials had violated Mr. Smith's civil rights "to be free from unlawful arrests, detentions and all other rights associated with our citizenship."
The lawsuit alleges that there is no reason for the police to believe that Mr. Smith has committed a crime or that he intends to commit a crime and that the sergeant's use of a bear hug is "unnecessary and illegal" and "wickedness and ruthlessness" indicates indifference. "
The city of Valdosta issued a statement on Monday.
"The city of Valdosta and the Valdosta Police Department take seriously any report of an injury to a citizen," the statement said. "Although no complaint was filed with the VPD, after notifying the shift supervisor, she initiated the review process of the incident by the official's superior, the patrol office commander, the home affairs department, and the chief of police."
The police incorrectly arrest a black man using facial recognition software
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