By Ryan Velez
The Grio reports that a woman in Washington D.C. nearly went to trial not for a crime she committed, but for having an attitude with police officers. The only thing that may have saved her from an undue day in court was her attorney’s ability to get a hold of body cam footage.
The woman, who did not wish to be identified, was arrested by D.C. police for having an open container of alcohol. However, she said that the police wrongfully arrested her. Caught in a he-said, she-said, scenario, the woman’s attorney, George Lyon, decided to be innovative, asking for the bodycam footage of the officers at the time of the arrest.
Bodycam footage has been a major topic in the ongoing discussion of police brutality and shootings that have been going on in the country. Many are demanding that such measures be mandatory in order to ensure that police officers be held accountable for their actions. However, it is a bit of a surprise that this would come up in what even Lyon describes as “a run of the mill case.” However, with his client insisting that she was not guilty, he pushed for the footage.
Police say that the woman, who was arrested in the Trinidad neighborhood in August, had an open can of beer and bottle of tequila that they found on the sidewalk. However, the video footage shows that she was nowhere near the alcohol.
“She couldn’t even get to it,” said Lyon. “It wasn’t within her car.” Even more shocking is the fact that she was arrested for getting an attitude with the officer. On the tape, you can hear the officer saying, “You got an attitude? OK, you can come with us, too.” Lyon explained that his client was well within her rights to get an attitude without being arrested. In fact, she never should have been arrested in the first place. Her charges have now been dropped by the prosecution.
At the moment, the D.C. Police Department has yet to release a formal statement about the case. Officers are now required to confirm with their dispatchers that their body cameras are on, and more than 1,000 officers currently wear them.