One Pennsylvania family has filed a lawsuit against three Collingdale police officers after the officers broke into their home without a warrant to confiscate their cell phone, which they were using to video the officer’s activities in front of their home.
Michael and Kia Gaymon identified Officer Carl White as the officer who broke into their home on February 22 of this year without a warrant and without permission and arrested Mrs. Gaymon after he threatened to taser her.
According to the lawsuit, the officers, “had no legal cause to believe that any plaintiff committed any crime.” The lawsuit also goes on to state that they “maliciously initiated a criminal prosecution.”
The lawsuit also accuses the officers of entering the home without a warrant.
According to the local NBC affiliate:
According to Mrs. Gaymon, one officer began to yell at her and her husband in an “aggressive and accusatory manner,” and asked which one of them spit on their neighbor. The couple told the officer they had done nothing wrong and that their neighbor was falsely accusing them.
The lawsuit accuses the officer of getting within inches of Mr. Gaymon’s face while screaming at him.
“His behavior was so aggressive that the first thing I thought was to pull out my phone and video,” Mrs. Gaymon said.
Mrs. Gaymon began to record the officer as she stood outside her front door. The lawsuit claims the officer noticed her recording and walked toward her, demanding that she stop.
“He told me that if I continued to video he was going to come in my house and confiscate my phone and place me under arrest,” Mrs. Gaymon said.
White then proceeded to handcuff the couple’s 21-year-old daughter Sanshuray Purnell and a second officer led her from the home. White then entered the home, demanded the phone and placed his taser to Mrs. Gaymon’s chest, threatening to use it.
Both Gaymon and Purnell were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.
The family’s attorney, Johnathan Fienberg, said there was no cause for the police to enter the home, threaten the occupants, confiscate their phone or make an arrest.
“The actions that are described in the citation are for videoing the officer,” said Fienberg. “It’s not a crime.”
The Supreme Court has already ruled that that citizens have a right to video police who are out in public and they have also ruled that police cannot search cell phones without a warrant.
I say good for this family. While there are many great peace officers out there, there are a growing number of these cases of abuse of power among them. If you serve the public admirably, then God bless you and may you continue to do so, but if you do stupid stuff like these officers, then I expect the good officers to call them out and stand with the family on this incident and others like it. Let justice be served upon those who have perverted it.