Wrongly arrested Black man sues a Georgia city and police officers for excessive force and injury
USA - A Black man who was slammed to the ground as he was wrongly arrested is suing the Georgia city of Valdosta and numerous Valdosta Police Department officers for excessive force and for violating his civil rights, according to court documents.
In a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court, Antonio Arnelo Smith, a Valdosta resident, also accused the police department of illegal arrest, false detention, assault as well as battery and is seeking $700,000 in a settlement. The city attorney was served with a copy of the lawsuit on Monday and “the city has not had time to review the document and therefore cannot comment on the content of the suit,” according to a VPD statement released the same day.
An updated comment had not been issued from the city attorney as of Thursday afternoon. Ashlyn Johnson, a spokesperson for the city of Valdosta told CNN she expected a new statement to be issued Thursday night. VPD released a fiveminute body camera video of the incident from Sergeant Bill Wheeler. Nathaniel Haugabrook II, an attorney representing Smith, sent CNN an 11-minute body camera video from Officer Dominic Henry.
Haugabrook told CNN over the phone Thursday that the incident on February 8 began when an employee at the
Walgreens on North Ashley called 911 because a man was asking customers for money at the location. Haugabrook said that after one officer approached the man in question, another customer told a separate officer that the man who had been harassing them had walked down the street. Haugabrook said that his client was down the street when Henry approached him and asked for his identification. Smith complied with the officer and handed over his ID. In body camera video from Henry provided to CNN by Haugabrook, Smith is seen talking to the officer, telling him that he was at the location for a Western Union for his sister and they know him.
The man was confirmed to have a broken wrist after the incident.(Photo:CNN)