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Lawsuit Says Police Pursuing White Suspect Wrongly Arrested Black Man


A black man in Massachusetts says he was wrongfully arrested by officers looking for a white man, according to a lawsuit filed in US District Court in Massachusetts on Wednesday.

Donovan Johnson says Arlington Police Department officers “wrongfully stopped, searched, arrested and assaulted” him “without any legitimate basis for their conduct.”

Johnson is suing three officers and the city of Arlington seeking compensatory and punitive damages in an amount to be determined by jury trial. Johnson argues that his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments were violated as a result of the police chase and arrest.

CNN has contacted the Arlington Police Department for comment.

In response to the lawsuit, city officials announced Friday that they had already been made aware of Johnson’s allegations and had hired an “outside licensed private investigator to conduct an investigation to determine” whether the officers violated policies.

This investigation “found no evidence to support an allegation of racial profiling or excessive use of force”, according to A press release on the city website.

“The investigator found that officers violated certain department policies, and as a result of the outside investigation, three officers were disciplined, an officer and the sergeant received mandatory refresher training, and the sergeant received a remedial supervisor training. The third officer subsequently left the department,” the statement read.

The city will review the allegations in the lawsuit and “intends to vigorously defend itself against the allegations,” the statement said.

Johnson says he was returning home from work on February 10 last year when a police officer who the lawsuit said was pursuing a white suspect ran towards him.

According to the lawsuit, that officer, identified as Steven Conroy, shouted to “put the f**k down,” the complaint states. The white suspect, identified in the lawsuit as Kyle T., backed out, but Johnson, who “did not know what was going on,” did not, the lawsuit says.

According to the lawsuit, Constable Conroy pointed his gun at Johnson, knocked him to the ground, and placed his knee on Johnson’s neck. The complaint also alleges that Johnson was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police cruiser before being released without charge.

And although Johnson was eventually released once police acknowledged “they had no reason to arrest and detain him”, “his entire detention lasted approximately 45 minutes”, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit alleges that officers ignored information that showed Johnson was not a suspect. In a statement, Johnson’s attorneys said, “This is a quintessential racial profiling case. The Arlington Police Department had no evidence that Mr Johnson was involved in any crime, in fact on the contrary, witnesses told police he was not involved. Yet at the end of the day, Mr Johnson was humiliated and physically raped.

Days after the incident, the lawsuit says, “Conroy prepared a police report indicating that a connection between Mr. Johnson and ‘Kyle T.’ existed on the CopLink database, a tool that integrates various databases. law enforcement data.”

“However, there was no connection between Mr. Johnson and Mr. T on the CopLink database,” the suit said.

When reached by phone Thursday morning for a statement, Conroy told CNN “no comment.”

About a month after the incident, the police department conducted an independent administrative review of Johnson’s arrest.

Conroy told investigators he saw the suspect who appeared to be jogging with another person outside the hotel. The second subject, Conroy said, was not following his verbal commands, so “he reached out and grabbed him by the arm…so he could investigate the situation further,” the investigation report said. .

The review concluded that “the Arlington Police Department’s use of force policy and procedure…appears to have been followed” and, according to investigators, “found no evidence to support the assertion (name redacted) that he had been racially profiled”.

The review also indicates that officers violated several department policies regarding arrests outside their jurisdiction, the proper method of handcuffing, and the seizure of evidence. The review recommends “additional training” in these areas.

Four recommendations were also made regarding training, retraining and policy revisions, following the outside investigator’s investigation, city officials said Friday. These have been implemented, the press release said.

“The City of Arlington Police Department is committed to providing equal and fair justice to all of its residents and visitors,” City Manager Sandy Pooler and Police Chief Julie Flaherty said in the press release. from the city. “It trains its staff to administer justice regardless of race and conducts ongoing training on diversity, equity and inclusion.”

In a statement, one of Johnson’s lawyers, Mirian Albert of Lawyers for Civil Rights, said: ‘Everyone should feel safe in their own community. Our client’s rights were violated at the sight of his own home. It’s the type of police misconduct that fuels mistrust between communities of color and law enforcement.

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