Lorain, OH — Newly released footage shows a police officer from Lorain, Ohio slamming Pele Smith, a 32-year old African American man who was handcuffed at the time, into his police cruiser so hard that it cracked the windshield, and caused the glass to shatter.
After the incident, Smith was reported treated at a local hospital for injuries to his face. He has since filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city and the four officers involved seeking unspecified damages, citing excessive force.
But why was he even being arrested?
Officers were reportedly investigating a drug complaint in the area, and Smith reportedly tried to destroy drug evidence by swallowing it. He also reportedly “physically resisted officers” as they tried to retrieve the evidence. Smith was later charged with tampering with evidence, obstructing official business, and resisting arrest.
Police chief defends the officer’s actions
Instead of disciplining the officer for excessive force, the county’s local police chief, Cel Rivera, is defending the officer’s actions. He says the department denies all allegations in the lawsuit, and insists that the video can easily be “misunderstood” by the public.
He said in a statement, “I would caution observers to not rush to judgment relative to the actions of the police officers on scene. Although it is not easy to watch, police officers explain all of their actions in their police reports.”
Watch the video below: