Man sues Georgia police for excessive use of force after wrongfully arresting him
A black man has sued a police station in Georgia for "unnecessary and excessive" use of violence in a detention center from February.
Antonio Arnelo Smith, 47, filed a federal lawsuit on Friday, alleging that police officers in Valdosta, Georgia, injured him after beating him and violated his civil rights when they mistakenly arrested him after they found him in one Panhandling case identified as suspect. He is demanding $ 700,000 in compensation.
"From the moment Mr. Smith was hit on the floor until he left, he cried and screamed in excruciating pain," said the lawsuit filed against the officials and the city of Valdosta.
A city statement said that "any report of a citizen's injury was taken seriously" and that Smith had not lodged a complaint with the Valdosta police.
According to a Valdosta Daily Times police report, a man suspected of bothering customers outside a walgreen was wearing a brown hoodie and blue pants.
A patrol officer approaches the man the police have identified as Smith. According to Body Cam footage from USA TODAY, the man was wearing a red jacket and khaki pants.
An officer asks the man why he was with the Walgreens and later asks for ID. Smith gives his ID to the officers. He explains that he was with the Walgreens to go to a Western Union store and wait for his sister to transfer money to him.
"I don't do anything, I was close to cameras," he said, and asked the officers to look at the security material on the walgreens.
Then a sergeant comes and immediately approaches the man, grabs him and holds his arms in a "bear hug". He instructs Smith three times to put his hands behind his back, "as he said".
Sergeant Smith strikes after the third order. He starts to moan in pain and exclaims that the sergeant has broken his wrist.
On the police report, the sergeant in question said Smith was "in a" blade position "and appeared to be arguing or debating with the patrol officer."
The sergeant then repeatedly asked him to relax, remove his handcuffs, and tell him that an arrest warrant had been issued against him. A few moments later, the patrolman, who had originally contacted Smith, informed local officers that they had arrested the wrong man.
"This is a different type," says the official with the body cam. "The guy with the warrant is over there." They remove his handcuffs.
Wheeler admits in the video that he thought Smith was "the guy with the warrants."
The patrolman then clarifies the situation to the officers and they let Smith get up. Another officer tells Smith that an ambulance is on the way.
"I got ready to put my hands behind my back," said Smith. "He picked me up by force."
The sergeant asks Smith if he has understood what just happened. Smith said yes and left the scene. Smith was later hospitalized according to the lawsuit at the South Georgia Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with "radial and ulnar distal fractures" and had his arm looped before being released with pain relievers.
Smith's lawyer, Nathaniel Haugabrook, told the Valdosta Daily Times that officials had violated Smith's civil rights "to be free from unlawful arrest, unlawful detention, and all other rights associated with being a citizen."
Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_bote
This article originally appeared in the US TODAY: Georgian police are being sued for excessive use of force after a false arrest
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