Is a blue arrest warrant a criminal offense warrant
In a lawsuit filed in federal court on Friday, Antonio Arnelo Smith, a resident of Valdosta, also charged the police with the illegal arrest, false detention, assault and battery, and is seeking a $ 700,000 settlement.
A copy of the lawsuit was served on the city's attorney on Monday, and "the city has not had time to review the document and cannot comment on the contents of the lawsuit," said a VPD statement released the same day.
The prosecutor had not made an updated comment by Thursday afternoon. Ashlyn Johnson, a spokeswoman for the city of Valdosta, told CNN she was expecting a new statement Thursday night.
VPD released a five-minute body camera video of Sergeant Bill Wheeler's incident. Nathaniel Haugabrook II, an attorney representing Smith, sent CNN an 11-minute body camera video of Officer Dominic Henry.
"You broke my wrist"
Haugabrook telephoned CNN Thursday that the incident began on February 8 when a Walgreens employee in North Ashley called 911 because a man asked local customers for money.
Haugabrook said after an officer approached the man in question, another customer told another officer that the man who molested her was walking down the street.
Haugabrook said his client was down the street when Henry approached him and asked for his ID. Smith followed the officer and handed over his ID.
In a Henry body camera video that Haugabrook made available to CNN, Smith speaks to the officer and tells him that he was at a Western Union location for his sister and that they know him.
He tells the cop he didn't do anything and calls his sister in Florida to confirm his story.
The video shows another officer who was identified as Wheeler by Haugabrook to CNN. His badge can also be seen in the video. Step behind Smith and hug him with a bear.
Smith asks "What are you doing?" and Wheeler says, "Listen to him and put your hands behind your back" before knocking him down, sitting on top of him and handcuffing him.
Haugabrook said his client couldn't put his hands behind his back because Wheeler was holding him. Haugabrook told CNN that Smith's wrist was broken when he was hit on the floor by Wheeler.
"I don't think anyone can listen to their crying and howling without their heart sinking," Haugabrook said of the video.
While he's on the ground, Smith can be heard screaming, “Oh my god! You broke my wrist ”before an officer says,“ Stop ”and“ It could be broken. ”
Smith keeps crying and whining, saying, “Oh Jesus, it hurts” over and over again before the officers remove a cuff.
“That's the other guy. The guy with the warrant is over there, ”Henry says to the other three, pointing down the street.
Smith is told by the officers to stay on the ground.
Henry then discusses the misunderstanding with Wheeler and says, "I thought I missed something."
"I thought he was the one with the warrant," says Wheeler before walking away.
Henry can be heard saying, "Damn it," before another officer asks him what happened.
Henry then said when Wheeler told him to put his hands behind his back, "he thought he had missed something".
The officers return his ID to Smith and let him go. An officer asks him if he would like to see the ambulance and he says no. The officer asks him to hang out for a second and Smith cradles his arm, as the video shows.
Haugabrook told CNN that his client refused to receive medical treatment on site because he was scared and wanted to go home after the incident.
Later that evening, Smith went to a hospital where they confirmed his wrist was broken, Haugabrook said.
Submitted information was misinterpreted
A statement from Valdosta Police Department posted on Facebook said: “The VPD was sent to Walgreens at 2815 North Ashley Street regarding a report from an off-store man harassing customers, yelling loudly and asking for money . The subject was reported to be an African American wearing a brown hoodie and blue pants. "The statement indicates that two officers independently searched the scene and found two different men who matched the description. Someone who turned out not to be the man who made the 911 call had criminal offense orders. The other on the call did not do so, but the information transmitted on the police tape was misinterpreted.
“The officer answering believed that this person was the subject of the 911 call and the person with criminal offense orders… approached the subject and advised him to put his hands behind his back. The subject did not and began to resist by pulling on his arms. At this point, the answering officer used a physical control technique to place the subject on the floor so that they could be handcuffed. In this procedure, the officer walks the subject on the ground. The responding officer noted that the subject appeared to have sustained an injury to his wrist when he fell to the ground. Upon discovering the injury, the responding officer and other officers immediately removed the handcuffs, rolled the subject around and notified the dispatcher to send EMS, ”a VPD statement posted on Facebook said.
“While the subject was being removed from the handcuffs, the responding officer learned that although the person was the subject of the 911 operation, the person was not the subject with the warrant. Upon learning this, the officer in charge notified his supervisor that EMS was arriving to assess the subject's injuries, but refused medical treatment and said he wanted to leave. The subject was then released from the scene, ”said VPD.
CNN has reached out to the International Union of Police Associations to comment on the incident but has not yet received a response from the organization.
“We stopped the right person, it's just unfortunate that if you have multiple officers on the same call, communication leads to misunderstandings during the radio. And these are things that we can work on as an agency, and we are working to train our officers better and better together. But again, we stopped the right man who caused the problem at Walgreens. It's just unfortunate that he wasn't the one with the arrest warrants, ”Valdosta Police Chief Leslie Manahan said, told CNN partner WALB.
The police department said that although they had not received any complaints filed after the incident, the shift supervisor was nevertheless notified, which resulted in a review of the incident by the officer’s supervisor, the patrol office commander, the internal affairs department and the police chief.
"It's a terrible situation, unfortunately, but there was absolutely no malicious intent on behalf of the Valdosta Police Department and our officers," said Manahan.
Haugabrook tells CNN that there was no reason to use this violence against anyone as the charges and arrest warrants for the other man were all offenses. He also said his client was not combative and was only talking to the officer when the incident occurred.
Haugabrook also said he believed officials were forced to lie in their reports in order to cover up Wheeler's actions.
"We believe they fabricated their reports," Haugabrook said, adding that he believes the officials "committed conspiracy and collusion to create a false report to justify what Sgt. Wheeler did", because he's her boss.
CNN was unable to reach the officers or sergeants involved in the incident for comment.
CNN's Madeline Holcombe contributed to this report.
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