Lincoln, NE — As Minneapolis is in an uproar that a resident, Justine Damon, could be shot and killed by police not using their body cameras to capture the horrific incident, one man is suing police for manipulating their own body cams to incriminate him.
Barine Deezia was walking home with his friends early on the morning of March 20, 2016, when police noticed one of his friends, a female, who appeared to be intoxicated.
They wanted to know what bar served her and were following her and Deezia down the street. The group of friends seemed to be managing just fine without the help of police, but like a criminal gang, the police kept following them.
Eventually, Deezia found a place for his female friend to sit and begin to sober up, but police engaged the group again. Because they had switched off their cameras the equipment was not recording the incident in question but street cameras did.
The video shows Deezia and his group of friends sitting and standing on an outside patio of a restaurant, when all of a sudden, police swarmed in and violently slammed Deezia into the restaurant's windows and then forcefully took him to the ground.
He was knocked unconscious as his friends, rightfully so, panicked at what they were witnessing.
His only charges were that of "obstructing justice" and "resisting arrest," two charges police frequently cite when they cannot find more serious violations to arrest someone for.
Because he was minding his own business when police violently arrested him, Deezia is now suing Lincoln police for violating his civil rights.
Rick Boucher, his attorney, accused the officers of working together to pin charges on the man. "The officers, individually and in concert, manipulated the cameras on/off functions for dramatic effect, resulting in evidence that was tainted, spoiled and fabricated, all in an attempt to frustrate justice," he wrote in a court briefing.
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When the case went to trial, Deezia fought back. Instead of taking a plea deal and acknowledging guilt for something he didn't do and should never have been charged with, he won. The jury found him not guilty on both counts of resisting and obstructing.
Thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of Americans find themselves in similar circumstances, and when police officers selectively turn on and off their body cameras, there's no proof to back up citizens' claims that they were abused and had their rights violated.
In Deezia's case, fortunately, the street cameras corroborated his story and proved he was simply trying to avoid police and any confrontation with the violent men. He advised his friend of her rights to remain silent, that's what he and his friends say angered police.
According to Deezia and his friends and family, him advising his friend of her rights to remain silent that night is what angered the cops. They wanted info and because he stopped them from getting that info, he was taken out.
The incident didn't leave the man unscathed either. When Deezia hit the ground, he was knocked unconscious, a fact which was also not caught on camera by officers who should have been doing their job by leaving them on during the encounter.
Of the three officers engaged in the violent takedown and arrest of the man, not one officer had his camera recording. As a result, Deezia will likely win in court, and the settlement will be paid out of taxpayer funds. In other words, Lincoln taxpayers will be footing the bill for police officers' alleged negligence. The practice of selectively turning on or off one's body camera footage has to stop. People are getting hurt by bully cops.
In other words, Lincoln taxpayers will be footing the bill for police officers' alleged negligence. What good are body cameras if the officer can simply turn it off right before committing a crime?
The video is long, but the harassment and subsequent brutality begins around the 7:25 mark.