A Rockhill police statement was clear about what Travis Price did. He arrested his brother on suspicion of a gun and militarily interfered with police officers. He pushed them in and knocked them on his body. He refused to obey the order.
He was charged with “interfering with police,” and lawmakers in his district of South Carolina issued his own statement describing Mr. Price as “rolling up and beginning to interfere with things” and “suspect.” Stacked up.
Fifteen days later, the truth was revealed after Mr. Price spent about 36 hours in prison. A body camera video of the June 23 incident showed that Mr. Price was calmly following the police’s instructions a few seconds before one police officer. Jonathan Moreno pushed him into a kerosene tank outside the gas station and took him to the ground.
“He didn’t do anything wrong,” admitted Kevin Brackett, the region’s chief prosecutor, at a press conference last month. Bracket has announced that he has been charged with assault and assault on Moreno, who was dismissed from the police station. And at a dramatic moment, Brackett called Moreno to the podium and apologized there.
“I made a mistake,” he said. “I’m here to own it, and I’m here to get it right.”
There have long been cases of police false explanations of arrests, but as body camera and cell phone videos have expanded and police public explanations have been monitored, police officers’ explanations do not match what people see. Has become more common.
The first account of Minneapolis police’s death of George Floyd stated that he died in May 2020 after a “malpractice incident while interacting with police.” The account was challenged within hours as a horrifying video of the death of a teenager flooded the Internet and ignited the biggest protests of its generation.
Throughout the United States, police false statements are increasingly working to correct records, sometimes investigating their cases, interviewing witnesses, and defamation proceedings.
Lillissa Lidoski, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Missouri and an expert in defamation law, said: “These proceedings are part of a search for police accountability tools.”
However, Mr Lidosky said it was often difficult to win the proceedings.
“People shouldn’t think it’s easy to file a defamation proceeding against the police because it’s difficult. It’s really difficult,” she said. Sueing a city, government agency, police officer, or member of the House of Representatives often entails additional challenges for plaintiffs, such as the principle of limited immunity to protect government officials in some circumstances.
Citizens often mentioned in false statements at police stations are complaining about other issues such as civil rights infringement and negligence.
Last year, the Detroit City Council approved a $ 75,000 payment to owners of two dogs shot dead by police during a drug investigation.
Police supervisors wrote in a report that police officers saw one of the two pitbulls “charge” and “try to bite” the police officer. The director also reported that he examined the body camera video and “did not find any inconsistencies” with the account.
However, when the graphic body camera video was released, it showed that police officers shot dogs one after another in the hallway of the house without any provocation. The puppy could later be seen walking on one of his bloody bodies.
In some cases, people read false explanations about their interactions with the police and tried to keep records straight.
In Central Florida, when Chris Cordero was driving a tanned Saturn in the Lake Wales neighborhood earlier this year, he said he noticed a police car chasing him. Cordero, 37, was nervous and a policeman pulled him. What could have been a routine traffic outage ended with being handcuffed and having Mr. Cordero on the ground. He was accused of assaulting a police officer and faced several years in prison.
Police officer David Colt Black said in his report that he pulled Cordero because he was not wearing a seatbelt and ignored the stop sign. Police said Mr Cordero was charged shortly after getting out of the car.
“Cordero kept approaching me with his closed fist and shouted,’I can’t stop me, you have no rights,'” the officer wrote. “Cordero kept rushing towards me with his closed fist.”
He said he continued to resist the arrest and seemed to be trying to get a waistband weapon, so he used his elbows to quickly launch an attack beside Mr. Cordero’s head. Cordero was arrested and detained.
However, Cordero said he had never charged the officer and was confident that a strike on his head was not triggered. He decided to do his own research.
“They were trying to give me a four to seven year prison, so I had to make a door-to-door visit,” he said. “The cop said I charged his car and I tried to attack him. I know I didn’t. I got out of the car and stayed there.”
Cordero’s door knocking had quick results. He got a security video of the doorbell from a house across the street. The footage was a bit further away and it was almost unclear what was happening, but it was clear that Mr. Cordero had not done what was blamed.
With the video in hand, he began calling and accused the officers of creating a brutal and racist slur. Officer Black said he had submitted a supplementary report within a day, and after watching the surveillance footage, realized that “the high stress of the incident changed his perception.”
“Based on the video, I found that Cordero wasn’t as close to me as I originally thought,” Black said.
Officer Black later told investigators that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder in a case several years ago when he was beaten by a suspect and required hospitalization. After exposing Mr. Cordero’s case, Black attendant resigned from the department and began treatment, according to a report from the Sheriff’s Office in Pork County. Investigators closed the case without taking any action, and prosecutors did not prosecute police officers.
“He lied to the report,” Cordero said. “What did I make a mistake? Nothing. I told the truth.”
Sarah Jones, a lawyer who first helped Cordero’s case, said that he was hit with a suction cup from behind during a traffic stop because his explanation reflects what he heard from other clients from the beginning. He said he believed in him.
“That’s why I made me believe he was telling the truth before I watched the video,” Jones said.
The Welsh Lake police forwarded a reporter’s request for comment on the investigation to Black’s father, the Deputy Secretary of the Department, but did not respond. Officer Black did not respond to the request for an interview.
In the case of Mr. Price, South Carolina, police never explained the false statements he gave reporters about what happened during his arrest. Mr Price sued the city of Rockhill and Republican Rep. Ralph Norman, both of whom said they had slandered him in a public statement.
The day after the New York Times contacted him, Norman’s office updated a statement on his blog and Facebook page to remove false information.
Price, the father of two people working in a chemical factory, said he was worried about what would happen if there were no public protests leading to the release of body camera footage. Whose story did people believe in?
“It’s not right how they degraded my name,” he said.