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 (VPD) officers for excessive force and for violating his civil rights, according to court documents.
What We Know:
- 47-year-old Antonio Arnelo Smith, filed a federal suit Friday alleging that Valdosta, Georgia police officers injured him after body slamming him, and violated his civil rights when they wrongly detained him after identifying him as a suspect in a panhandling case. He is requesting $700,000 in compensation.
- 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.
- “From the moment Mr. Smith was slammed to the ground until he walked away, he cried and screamed in agonizing pain,” reads the lawsuit, which was filed against the officers and the city of Valdosta.
- 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.
- A statement by the city said that it “takes any report of any injury to a citizen seriously,” and said that Smith did not file a complaint with Valdosta police. The sergeant later asked Smith in the body cam footage whether he understood what had just taken place. Smith said yes, walking away from the scene.
- Smith was later hospitalized at South Georgia Medical Center, per the lawsuit, where he was diagnosed with “distal radial and ulnar fractures” and his arm was put in a sling before being released with pain medication.
Smith’s lawyer, Nathaniel Haugabrook, told the Valdosta Daily Times that officers violated Smith’s civil rights “to be free from an unlawful arrest, unlawful detention and all of the other rights that goes along with us being citizens”.