LORAIN, OH (WKYC) Police in Lorain, Ohio are defending themselves against brutality claims raised by a man whose head was slammed into a cruiser with enough force to shatter the windshield.
The incident took place in September of 2014.
Recently obtained dashcam video hows Pele Smith, handcuffed from behind, being walked toward the police cruiser after being stopped for jaywalking.
Suddenly, Smith’s face is slammed into the windshield, causing the glass to shatter.
“It’s unbelievable. It’s sad. It’s frightening that an individual while in handcuffs has something like that happen to them,” said Mark Petroff, an Elyria attorney representing Smith.
Smith is now suing the city, claiming police violated his civil rights. He is seeking unspecified damages, WKYC reported.
Lorain Police Chief Cel Rivera released a statement Wednesday calling Smith “a violent drug trafficker” and said the video “does not tell the complete story” and “could be misunderstood” by the public.
“During the arrest and Mr. Smith’s active resistance, he was placed on the hood of the police unit to gain control and conduct a search, as per policy,” Rivera said in his statement. “I would caution observers to not rush to judgment relative to the actions of the police on scene.
“Although it is not easy to watch, police officers explain all of their actions in their police reports.”