In a lawsuit filed in federal court on Friday, Antonio Arnelo Smith, a resident of Valdosta, also accused the police department of illegal arrest, false detention, assault and battery and is seeking $ 700,000 in a settlement.
The city attorney filed a copy of the lawsuit on Monday, saying “the city did not have time to check the document and therefore cannot comment on the content of the lawsuit,” according to a VPD statement released the same day.
No official comment was issued by the city’s attorney on Thursday afternoon. Ashlyn Johnson, a spokeswoman for the city of Valdosta, told CNN she was waiting for a new statement to be issued Thursday night.
VPD released a five-minute video with a camera from Bill Wheeler’s sergeant. Nathaniel Haugabrook II, a representative representing Smith, sent CNN a video of an 11-minute camera by Officer Dominic Henry.
“You broke my wrist”
Haugabrook told CNN on Thursday that the incident began on February 8 when a Walgreens employee in North Ashley called 911 because a man was asking customers for money at the site.
Haugabrook said that after a police officer approached the man, another customer told a special officer that the man who harassed them had walked down the street.
Haugabrook said his client was on the road when Henry approached him and asked for his identification. Smith complied with the officer and handed over his identity.
In a video of Henry’s body camera provided to CNN by Haubbrok, Smith appears to be talking to the officer, telling him that he was at the site for a Western Union for his sister and they know him.
He tells the officer that he has done nothing and calls his sister in Florida to confirm his story.
The video shows another officer, identified on CNN by Haugabrook as Wheeler, whose mark is also visible in the video, climbed behind Smith and hugged him.
Smith asks, “What are you doing?” and Wheeler says, “Listen to him and put your hands behind your back,” before hitting him on the ground, grabbing him and handcuffing him.
Haugabrook said his client could not put his hands behind his back because of how Wheeler held him. Haugabrook told CNN that because of his detention, Smith’s wrist broke when he was hit on the ground by Wheeler.
“I don’t think anyone can hear them crying and mourning the anguish they put on without their hearts falling,” Haugabrook told the video.
While on the ground, Smith is heard shouting, “Oh my God! You broke my wrist,” before an officer says, “Stop,” and “He may break.”
Smith continues to cry and cry, “Oh Jesus, it hurts” over and over again before the police pull out a cuff.
“That’s the other guy. The guy with the warrant is there,” Henry tells the other three and looks down.
Smith told officers to stay on the ground.
Henry then discusses the misunderstanding with Wheeler, saying, “I thought I had lost something.”
“I thought he was the one with the warrant,” Wheeler said before leaving.
Henry is then heard saying under the breath of “My God,” before another officer on stage asks him what happened.
Henry said when Weller told him to put his hands behind his back, “he thought he had lost something.”
Officers appear to have given Smith his ID and left him. An officer asks him if he wants to see the ambulance and says no. The officer asks him to hang for a second and Smith shakes his hand, the video shows.
Haugabrook told CNN that his client refused medical care on stage because he was afraid and wanted to go home after the incident.
Later in the afternoon, Smith was taken to a hospital where he was confirmed to have a broken wrist, Haubabrok said.
The information conveyed was misinterpreted
A statement from Facebook’s Valdosta police said: “The VPD was sent to Walgreens on North Ashley Street 2815 in connection with a report by a man outside the business that harassed customers, shouting loudly and demanding money from customers. The report said an African-American man wearing a brown sweatshirt and blue pants said the statement showed two officers began searching the scene independently and found two different men matching the description, one who turned out not to be the man they were. the 911 call had a felony warrant. The other person, who was the subject of the 911 call, did not do so, but the information transmitted through the police band was misinterpreted.
“The correspondent believed that this person was the object of the 911 call and was the person with the crime warrant … he approached the subject and advised him to place his hands behind his back. The matter did not and he began to resist by pulling them hands forward and stretching his body. At this point, the correspondent used a physical control technique to place the subject on the ground so that handcuffs could be applied. This procedure involves the officer going (to) the ground. During the handcuffs, the officer in charge noticed that in the autumn on the ground, the person appeared to have an injury to his wrist. After recognizing the injury, the correspondent and other officers immediately removed the handcuffs, hit the subject and informed him. sender to send EMS, said a VPD statement posted on Facebook.
“While the issue (came out) of the handcuffs, the correspondent learned that while the person was the object of the 911 mission, it was not the issue with the warrants. Upon learning of this, the correspondent notified the supervisor of the incident. The EMS arrived to assess the person’s injuries, but ruled out medical treatment and said he wanted to leave. The man was later released from the scene, “the VPD said.
CNN contacted the International Union of Police Associations to comment on the incident, but has not yet heard from the agency.
“We had the right person to stop, it’s just unfortunate that communication, when you have a lot of officers on the same call, there’s some miscommunication during the radio broadcast. And those are things that yes, we can work on it as an agency and We are working to continue to train our officers in better and better communication skills. But again we stopped the right guy who caused the problem in Walgreens, it’s just unfortunate that he wasn’t the one with the crime warrants, “said police chief Valdosta Leslie. Manhan told CNN, a subsidiary of WALB.
Police said they did not receive any complaints after the incident, but the shift supervisor was notified, urging the process to be reviewed by the officer’s supervisor, patrol chief, internal affairs department and police chief.
“Unfortunately, it is a horrible situation, but on behalf of the Valdosta police and our officers, there was absolutely no malicious intent,” Manahan said.
Haugabrook tells CNN that there was no reason to use this level of violence on anyone, as the charges and warrants for the other man were all misused. In addition, he said that his client was not a fighter and just talked to the officer when the incident happened.
Haugabrook also said he believed officers were forced to lie in their reports to cover Wheeler’s actions.
“We believe they have created their reports,” Haubbrok said, adding that he believed officers had committed “conspiracy and conspiracy to create a false report to justify what Chief Wheeler did” because he was their supervisor.
CNN has not been able to contact officers or sergeants involved in the commentary incident.
CNN’s Madeline Holcombe contributed to this report.