Smith, a Black man, is suing the Georgia metropolis of Valdosta and quite a few Valdosta Police Division officers for extreme drive and for violating his civil rights after he was slammed to the bottom as he was wrongly arrested.
Smith displayed his wrist to Cuomo, which was damaged on the time and nonetheless has a big protrusion. Although Smith stated he forgave the officers on the time, his legal professional Nathaniel Haugabrook advised Cuomo that he faults the second officer on the scene for escalating the scenario into bodily violence.
“The primary officer, because the video exhibits, is having a reasonably regular dialog with Mr. Smith,” Haugabrook stated. “Mr. Smith complied with all of his directives, supplied his ID, denied the scenario of being the suspicious individual, and you’ve got one other officer who comes on the scene and simply takes over.”
The town legal professional was served with a duplicate of the lawsuit final week, and “the town has not had time to evaluation the doc and subsequently can’t touch upon the content material of the go well with,” in keeping with a VPD assertion launched the identical day the go well with was served.
CNN has reached out to the Worldwide Union of Police Associations.
Video exhibits the physique slam
VPD launched a five-minute physique digital camera video of the incident from Sergeant Invoice Wheeler, and Haugabrook despatched CNN an 11-minute physique digital camera video from Officer Dominic Henry.
The incident started on February eight when a Walgreens worker known as 911 as a result of a person was asking prospects for cash, Haugabrook beforehand advised CNN over the cellphone.
After one officer approached the person, one other buyer advised a separate officer that the person who had been harassing them had walked down the road, Haugabrook stated.
Smith was down the road when Henry approached him and requested for his identification, which Smith did, Haugabrook stated.
Smith advised Cuomo he was not doing something improper, simply ready for his sister to ship him cash. He additionally stated that he advised the officers on the time he was not doing something improper and advised them to name his sister in Florida to substantiate.
The video exhibits one other officer, whose badge was seen within the video and was recognized to CNN by Haugabrook as Wheeler, come up behind Smith and put him in a bear hug.
Smith asks, “What are you doing?”
Wheeler says, “Take heed to him and put your arms behind your again,” earlier than he slams him to the bottom, will get on high of him and cuffs him.
The best way Wheeler was holding Smith prohibited him from placing his arms behind his again and triggered Smith’s wrist to interrupt when he was slammed to the bottom, Haugabrook stated.
“I do not assume anybody can hearken to his crying and wailing, the agony he is in, with out their coronary heart dropping,” Haugabrook stated of the video.
Haugabrook advised CNN his shopper refused medical consideration on the scene as a result of he was scared and wished to go residence after the incident. Later within the night Smith did go to a hospital the place they confirmed that his wrist was damaged, Haugabrook stated.
Whereas he is on the bottom, Smith is heard crying out, “Oh my God! You broke my wrist,” earlier than an officer says, “Cease” and “It could be broke.”
Smith continues to cry and wail saying “Oh Jesus, it hurts,” again and again earlier than the officers take one cuff off.
“That is the opposite man. The man with the warrant is over there,” Henry tells the opposite three and factors down the highway.
‘We had the best individual stopped’ however misunderstood data
Earlier than the arrest, the physique slam and the damaged wrist, there was a misinterpretation of knowledge over the police band.
Police responded to the Walgreens with data that an African American male sporting a brown hoodie and blue pants was harassing prospects, Valdosta Police stated in an announcement posted to Fb.
Two officers independently looking the scene discovered two completely different males who matched the outline: one, who turned out to not be the person that the 911 name was made about, had felony warrants. And the opposite, who was the topic of the 911 name, didn’t.
However that data was misinterpreted.
“The responding officer believed this particular person was the topic of the 911 name and was the person with felony warrants,” the assertion stated. That officer approached and suggested him to place his arms behind his again. When he pulled his arms ahead and tensed his physique, the officer “used a bodily management method to position the topic on the bottom” to be handcuffed, the assertion stated.
Whereas handcuffing Smith, the officer observed that he appeared to have been injured and instantly eliminated handcuffs and requested the dispatcher to ship emergency medical providers, the assertion stated.
“We had the best individual stopped, it is simply unlucky that the communication, while you received a number of officers on the identical name, there’s some miscommunication throughout radio site visitors. And people are issues that sure, we will work on that as an company, and work on persevering with to coach our officers higher and higher communication expertise with one another. However once more we did have the best man stopped that was inflicting the issue at Walgreens, it is simply unlucky he was not the one with the felony warrants,” Valdosta Police Chief Leslie Manahan advised CNN affiliate WALB.
The police division stated though it didn’t obtain any filed complaints following the incident, the shift supervisor was nonetheless notified, prompting a evaluation technique of the incident by the officer’s supervisor, Patrol Bureau Commander, Inner Affairs Division and Chief of Police.
Smith was compliant and easily having a dialog when the incident occurred, Haugabrook advised CNN. He additionally stated there was no cause to make use of that degree of drive.
CNN has not been capable of attain the officers or sergeant concerned within the incident for remark.
CNN’s Hollie Silverman contributed to this report.