Man Sues Police after Officer Smashes His Face into Car Windshield, Breaking the Glass
Pele Smith is suing the Lorain Police Department in Ohio after they smashed his face into the windshield of a police car, breaking the glass.
In the September 2014 encounter with police that was captured on video from the cruiser's dashboard camera, Smith, 32, claimed that Officer Zachary Ferenec used excessive force, as cited in the lawsuit.
The video, released this week, shows a handcuffed Smith being walked to the cruiser before an officer slams him down onto the car roughly and his head hits the windshield.
Smith can be heard yelling, “Why are you doing this to me?
The police department released a statement on Thursday saying that the video “does not tell the whole story.”
"I know it doesn't look good," Lorain Police Capt. Roger Watkins said "But our intention wasn't for him to hit the windshield.”
Before the incident, police were patrolling near an elementary school after the narcotics bureau received a drug complaint, according to a police report. Police then reportedly saw Smith, who they are familiar with from “several past encounters.”
They stopped him and police alleged that they saw him swallow what they believed to be a bag of heroin or cocaine, according to the report.
Smith was being detained during the encounter on suspicion of jaywalking and possession of drugs, according to reports.
Drugs were reportedly never found in his system when he was evaluated at a nearby hospital.
Smith was charged with tampering with evidence, obstructing official business and resisting arrest. He plead guilty as part of a plea deal and received probation," according to WKYC's review of court records.
Smith’s attorney, Mark Petroff, said the encounter is unbelievable.
“It’s sad. It’s frightening that an individual while in handcuffs has something like that happen to them,” Mark Petroff told WKYC.