A Black man in South Carolina is suing the city of Rock Hill, its police department and U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) for defamation after charges against him were dropped in an incident where he was attacked by a police officer for no reason.
According to HuffPost, on June 23, Travis Price went to check on his brother after seeing he was being arrested by Rock Hill police officers. The officers told Price they found cannabis and a gun in his brother’s car and that he could take his brother’s jewelry before they took him into custody. Later, former Rock Hill police investigator Jonathan Moreno arrived at the scene and body camera footage shows him attacking Price without provocation.
Straight up, Price was just standing there, minding his business with police officers all around him when Moreno comes up, harasses him, and eventually takes him to the ground and arrests him. The initial police report didn’t say all that though, instead placing the blame on Price. The report said that Price didn’t comply with police commands and fought with the officers, even though there was body camera footage that showed none of that actually happened.
“The entire official written City Memorandum was written in a way so as to disparage the character, image, and reputation of Plaintiff; purposefully using statements like ‘managed to handcuff Travis’ so the public would believe Plaintiff was combative and fighting officers, resisting or evading arrest, and/or otherwise being unlawfully non-compliant with law enforcement lawful orders,” Price’s attorney Justin Bamberg wrote in the lawsuit.
Bamberg added that Price works at a chemical plant and has no criminal record which makes the accusations leveled against him even more damaging.
In yet another example of white men talking about shit that doesn’t concern them, U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman made a Facebook post about the arrest repeating the claims Price was combative with police. It should be noted Norman is of the anti-mask contingent, so I think he generally lacks the ability to shut the fuck up about things he knows nothing about.
After Price’s arrest led to protests in the city, the Rock Hill Police Department held a news conference earlier this month where the body camera footage was shown to the public for the first time. Moreno issued an apology to Price at the conference, and was subsequently fired and charged with misdemeanor assault and battery. The charges against Price were dropped and during the conference Prosecutor Kevin Brackett said Price “had done nothing wrong.”
I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that without the release of the body camera footage, Price could’ve had a criminal record for no reason, and Moreno would’ve been able to continue doing his job poorly with zero consequence.