the Baltimore Police Department is being sued for attacking a woman and smashing her camera, marking the second time in two years it has been sued for destroying footage.
The first suit earned them a federal reprimand. The second will hopefully earn them a federal investigation.
In that suit, which was filed last week, Makia Smith says she was stuck in stand-still rush hour traffic in March 2012 when she saw a group of cops beating up a man.
She stepped out of her car, stood on the door sill and began recording.
She was quickly confronted by an aggressive cop named Nathan Church, who grabbed her phone, threw it on the ground and smashed it with his foot.
“You want to film something, bitch? Film this,” he yelled.
He then proceeded to beat her.
Quoting from the suit as filed:
“Officer Church pulled plaintiff out of her car by her hair and beat her. Officers Pilkerton, Ulmer, and Campbell then ran to plaintiff’s car and joined Officer Church in beating plaintiff and arrested her using excessive force. At all times described herein, plaintiff’s two year old daughter witnessed her mother’s beating and arrest by the Officers, as did others.” Smith claims the cops taunted her and threatened to take her daughter away......
“The officers, despite the pleas of plaintiff, refused to call plaintiff’s mother. Instead, the officers tormented plaintiff by telling her that her daughter would be taken from her and sent to Social Services. Seeing plaintiff’s distressful reaction to these tormenting threats, they continued,” the complaint states. Smith says claims she was arrested and taken to jail on bogus charges that she assaulted Church and resisted arrest. She claims Church failed to appear for her trial – twice, and prosecutors dropped the charges, but she had to hire a lawyer and spend more money recovering her impounded car.
A Reason classic from Radley Balko from January 2011 on the police's war on cameras.