Dagsboro Man Sues City of Seaford, Alleges Police Abuse - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Dagsboro Man Sues City of Seaford, Alleges Police Abuse

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SEAFORD, Del. - Dash cams can be important tools for police, especially in court, but for officers in Seaford, the cameras could be used against them now that the city is facing a lawsuit.

On September 18, 2011, 43 year-old Reginald Johnson was pulled over by Seaford Police, who reportedly, thought Johnson was another man they were looking for.  Dashcam video shows an altercation as police try to get Johnson to exit his car.  After the Dagsboro man protests he did nothing wrong and asks why he was stopped, police tase Johnson, pull him out of the car, and arrest him for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

March of 2012, those charges were dropped, his lawyer thinks, at least in part, to the police car video.  "I hear these cases more frequently than you would imagine, but typically it's my client's word against not one officer, but multiple officers," says Stephan Norman, Johnson's attorney.  According to Norman, the dashcam video is what really helped his case, "the video in this case really speaks volumes about what happened."

Now, Johnson is suing the City of Seaford as well as two of the police officers featured in the video for Malicious Prosecution, Excessive Force, and False Arrest among other charges.  He believes that even after they realize has the wrong person, Seaford Police fabricated charges to bring Johnson into custody.  On the tape, an officer can be heard saying "so...who ID'd this guy?" when they discover that Johnson is not the man they're looking for.

An officer can also be heard laughing and, presumably jokingly, saying "somebody drop the dope in here" as Police go through Johnson's car, possibly insinuating someone plant drugs in the vehicle.  An internal investigation found the officer had engaged in "unbecoming conduct" for those comments.

 Reginald Johnson was not available for comment on the open investigation, but his stated, this lawsuit is about more than Johnson collecting a monetary reward.  He says "When you have somebody like this who's had their civil rights violated, and has been effected the way Mr. Johnson has, you want to get justice, that's your ultimate goal."

WMDT has reached out to the City of Seaford for comment, but as of Tuesday afternoon, City Manager Dolores Slatcher said she had not yet seen the lawsuit, so she couldn't comment at the time.  We will keep reaching out to Seaford officials for comment on this case and we'll tell you what they had to say as soon as we hear anything.

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