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Thursday 1 December 2022
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Syracuse Man Threatening to Sue for Millions After Officer ”Screw Up”

After a video surfaced of a Syracuse man being thrown to the ground by a Syracuse police officer, the victim is suing the office and the city.

On July 38, Maurice Crawley, 52, was videotaping as two police officers performed a traffic stop. The driver of the vehicle that had been stopped was placed in handcuffs, searched, and escorted to a police vehicle. As Crawley continued to videotape the officers, one officer, Vallon Smith, crossed the street and immediately threw Crawley off his bicycle.

According to Crawley’s original claim, Officer Smith slammed him to the ground, punched him in the face and lower back, and repeatedly hit him.

Crawley, along with his civil rights lawyer Charles Bonner, is advocating that the police department change its traffic stop procedures, and that they cease even approaching drivers.

“This is the procedure employed throughout Europe,” said Bonner. “There, no citizens are beaten, shot, or killed because a tail light is out or because they are selling CDs or cigarettes on the street.”

According to Syracuse.com, William Fitzpatrick, Onondaga County’s District Attorney, stated that Officer Smith “screwed up” during the incident.

“He overreacted,” Fitzpatrick added, “and he will suffer the consequences.”

The video shows Crowley simply just recording the situation, but Fitzpatrick later charged Crawley with harassment, second-degree obstructing governmental administration, and resisting arrest. These charges were later dropped.

Crawley is claiming false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution, among other thing, and is seeking $3 million each from the city and from Officer Smith.

Since the video was shot from Crawley’s point of view, and it begins a little after the traffic stop was already underway, there is no way of seeing the entire situation from Smith’s point of view. According to a PoliceOne and Taser International survey in 2012, roughly 85% of survey respondents said that body-worn cameras actually reduce false claims for police misconduct — and reduce the likelihood of litigation against the agency in question.

Body cameras might have helped Smith in this case, at least to show whether or not Crawley had in fact been harassing him.

“If I was ever in a foxhole and the choice was given to me as to whether I wanted Maurice Crawley sitting next to me, who would probably steal my wallet, or whether I wanted Officer Vallon Smith sitting next to me, the answer is painfully obvious to everyone,” said District Attorney Fitzpatrick.

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