RICHMOND — A city resident is filing a federal lawsuit against four Richmond police officers, alleging that they arrested him under false pretenses and wrote in inaccurate police report to cover their tracks.
The civil complaint, filed Friday by Lafayette-based attorney Daniel Horowitz, doesn’t deny that the plaintiff, Dejon Brown, told a Richmond officer, “I’ll beat yo a–” while berating the officers for conducting a traffic stop. But the complaint says the officers wrote reports claiming that Brown was advancing toward officers when he did so, though an officer’s body camera footage shows Brown had his back turned and was walking away.
The complaint lists Richmond officers Ahmed Khalfan, Brandon Hodges, Jesse Sousa, and Kristian Palma as defendants, and identifies Khalfan as the officer who grabs Brown after Brown made the threatening remark. Dejon Brown’s brother, Dareron Brown, then shoved Khalfan off of Dejon and ran from police, before a pursuing officer used a stun gun on Dareron and arrested him.
Horowitz wrote in the complaint that the incident was part of “systemic, deliberate, policy and practice to allow officer excesses, officer civil rights violations, excessive use of force, escalation of situations to be perpetrated against residents of the City of Richmond.” A Richmond police spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
The video, posted to Youtube by Horowitz, shows Dejon Brown yelling profanity at the officers, who had pulled the car over and were questioning its occupants about whether there was marijuana inside. An officer first tells Brown, “Keep talking, we’ll come deal with you when we’re done.”
Brown then gets out of his car and walks to the edge of the sidewalk, while the officers remain in the middle of the street. He says things like, “I ain’t got s— to do with y’all” and “F—‘s wrong with you?” The lawsuit describes Brown’s conduct as him exercising “his constitutional right to express his outrage” under the First Amendment.
An officer, identified in the police report as Khalfan, asks Brown repeatedly, “Are you going to chill out?” When Brown makes the, “I’ll beat yo a–” remark, Khalfan says, “You’ll what?” He moves an officer out of his way and rushes to Brown, who at this point has his back turned and is walking away.
The two struggle as Brown protests, and Khalfan and another officer wrestle him to the ground. While they’re attempting to handcuff him, Brown’s brother attempts to shove Khalfan off, then takes off running as Khalfan pursues.
Khalfan chases Dareron Brown, following him through a gate and deploying a Taser for several seconds as he does so. Dareron Brown is hit and he falls to the ground, as several angry onlookers surround the officer. That’s where the video ends.
The police report says Dejon Brown “continued to close the distance” as he yelled, “I’ll be yo a–.” The civil complaint, though, notes that Brown “was walking away from the scene and muttering” when he said it, and accuses the officers of lying about Brown’s conduct so that county prosecutors would charge him with a felony.
“The body worn camera shows the truth,” the civil complaint says. “The coordinated misstatements show that there was collusion in fabricating the false narrative to hide the police violence.”
Richmond police have not responded to the lawsuit in court, but they have several weeks to do so.
The body camera video can be seen below. It contains profanity and violence:
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Author: Nate Gartrell