Lawsuit: Baltimore Police Taser Woman Videotaping Them In Public and Then Erase The Videotape On Her Cellphone And Arrest Her On Later Dropped Charges

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 7.38.54 AMThere is another disturbing video of a citizen being arrested after trying to videotape police in public. Kianga Mwamba, 36, says that she was tased by police and arrested after she tried to film the arrest of a man with her mobile phone. The police took her phone, deleted the video, and arrested her. The video was later recovered from the cloud and shows an officer telling her at the end: “You a dumb bitch, you know that?” She was charged with the serious crime of trying to run over a police officer, but those charges were later dropped. However, no charged or discipline have been brought against the officer.

We have been following the continuing abuse of citizens who are detained or arrested for filming police in public. (For prior columns, click here and here). Despite consistent rulings upholding the right of citizens to film police in public, these abuses continue.

The March 30th encounter is now the subject of a lawsuit against the Baltimore City Police Department, a department that has been the subject of repeated and ongoing claims of police abuse.

In the complaint below, Mwamba says that she was told to move her car but could not because there were police officers around it and then without warning she was dragged from the car and tased. She said that when she asked for her inhaler, officers laughed at her.

She said that she showed her video to an officer at booking to show that she did not try to run over any officers but that someone then deleted the video. There is not simply the allegation of an assault on a citizen but the possible use of false charges against the victim of police abuse. However, the department now insists that, even with the recovered evidence, “The video does not capture enough information to draw definitive conclusions about what transpired before, during, and after the arrest.”

The complaint names officers Stepanie Uruchima, Kelly Larson, Erick Jackson, and Marlon Koushall.

Here is a copy of the lawsuit: Baltimore Complaint

Source: Baltimore Sun

45 thoughts on “Lawsuit: Baltimore Police Taser Woman Videotaping Them In Public and Then Erase The Videotape On Her Cellphone And Arrest Her On Later Dropped Charges”

  1. A great big thanks to the US Supreme Court for not legislating from the bench when they created the qualified immunity doctrine.

  2. And here’s evidence of an officer slamming a 15 y/o face into the ground…
    … Because he wouldn’t “stand there”.

  3. And here is video evidence of an actual police officer stomping on the face of an American…

  4. Inga
    So Haz are you saying Professor Turley is a cop hater for regularily posting these police abuse videos?
    = = =
    Annie, what Haz is saying is that our pimples indict us and we shouldn’t be looking in the mirror.

  5. QUESTION: (rhetorical)
    If the CIA can erase video evidence of their abuse of authority…
    … Why can’t police?

  6. @Karen ~ I agree. Hitting the city in the wallet will cost the tax payers money and force the Mayor to come down on the Police Chief to discipline bad apples or she them. Unfortunately the police unions get them back on.

  7. @Star Messenger
    “While in training in the various police academies around the country, police are taught that it is: Us against Them; When you shoot, you shoot to kill; and, You are the Law.”

    That is simply not true. I know from experience. The name calling isn’t something that is normal practice from my experience either. Police only shoot when faced with possible death or harm to the public or themselves. A police officer in trouble takes priority except in the case of a child is in trouble, then they will have to fend for themselves. This situation is disheartening, because not all of us officers are like that.

    I think the officer was annoyed that she was being a rubber necker and watching and or filming the situation. Officers do worry that each stop can be either their last or end up on youtube, but they don’t set out to kill people nor hope to.

  8. She had the last laugh, as clearly these rogue officers were unaware of the Cloud, or data recovery methods.

    A lawsuit and criminal charges are the best way to ensure this stops happening. If a department will go bankrupt by this behavior, they’ll stop.

  9. So Darren, my next question then ( I suppose partially rhetorical) is: are police trained in reasonably effective alternatives?

    Like how to wait and negotiate when the crime is non-violent in nature and presents no threat to public safety?

    1. Bailers, the training is rather extensive, but how the use plays out on the streets sometimes deviates from this. It is not the rule but the exception in the country despite what is perceived by many resulting from the press that the unlawful uses receive that uses of force are lawful. The unlawful ones certainly need public scrutiny and there is much work to be done, especially in many areas of the country and with particular agencies.

    2. The Bottom Line on police activities in the Street is: They Love It! They love to “get it on” with anyone they encounter. How do I know? Because I’ve asked several cops from around the country. They love the excitement of an encounter, and have little to fear because they have a “license to kill”.

  10. I am amused by the commentary about police conduct. They’re suppose to use less than lethal force if possible, yada yada. In NYC they did…wrestling with the guy…but he died anyway. Not exactly the fat athlete of the week, eh? Please tell me how the men and women we appoint to protect us are supposed to “win?” Especially if we’ve laid non-discrimination standards on them that requires they hire 4’11 inch 110 pound folks to handle 6+ foot dudes weighing over 250 pounds? Explain to me…I will listen.

    As the old saying used to go…need a cop, but don’t like cops, call a hippie. Good luck with that.

  11. Bailers, it depends on the situation as to what level of force to use. Here is a definition of necessary use of force that is often used, at least in this state.

    RCW 9A.16.010

    In this chapter, unless a different meaning is plainly required:

    (1) “Necessary” means that no reasonably effective alternative to the use of force appeared to exist and that the amount of force used was reasonable to effect the lawful purpose intended..

  12. While in training in the various police academies around the country, police are taught that it is: Us against Them; When you shoot, you shoot to kill; and, You are the Law. As long as that is the mentality instilled in the “police in training”, nothing is going to change for the better. The public is the “enemy” who are “out to get you” is another mind set taught at police academies. And, if you are Black, all of these “skills” that they are taught become more intense.

    Also, when a White police officer confronts a Black citizen, each thinks the “other” is the enemy. And, any “false move” by the Black citizen is going to be perceived as a threat against that cop’s life. So, with that mind set already in place every time the cop “goes on duty”, serious injury or death can follow.

    Can that be changed? Perhaps. But, not in anyone’s lifetime. Change, like what is needed for the cop/citizen relation to improve can take years, if not, decades to improve. In other words, the U.S. is screwed, and destined to become another “Third-World Country” like what is seen on TV every night of the year.

  13. Darren,
    Would you agree that often times in these incidents police expect an unreasonable reaction time to their commands? And a rush to use a higher level of force than what is necessary?

    I often seen the police expect the same reaction time to their commands that a drill sargent in boot camp would expect. And a pattern of using overwhelming force (the pile on for example) when lower levels of force may be sufficient to gain control.

    Or am I off base?

  14. Inga,
    We both know very well why. Police and fire unions are strongly supported by both sides of the isle. The majority is supported by a portion of the population that is at least sympathetic to the idea of limiting teachers and other public sector unions.
    No one wants to be called a cop hater or pro-criminal on either side of the isle. And if they were to go after police unions, you’d have the MPD union and Sheriff Clarke on the same side of the issue. That’s scary enough to frighten away most politicians.

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