Illinois banned the recording of police by civilians, but another footage from Baltimore that just surfaced as part of a lawsuit may change everything.
A Baltimore woman has filed a lawsuit against the city’s police department, mayor and City Council for an incident from March in which she claims officers Tasered her for filming the arrest of a man on a street.
Kianga Mwamba, 36, claimed she was Tasered by police as she filmed a group of officers arresting and beating a man. Footage of the video, which Mwamba captured with her mobile phone on March 30 around 3:15 a.m., surfaced online this week. According to the lawsuit that she filed on Tuesday in a Baltimore court, police deleted the two-minute video from her phone. But a storage app on her device allowed her to recover the footage.
On March 30 of this year at 3:15 a.m., Kianga Mwamba saw Baltimore city police kicking and hitting a handcuffed suspect from her car. She stops to videotape the scene with her phone. She’s repeatedly told she can’t film, but she says she knows her rights, and it’s legal to film police in public. The police then say she needs to pull her car off the street.
What happens next is the main point of contention. As she’s trying to pull the car off the road, a policeman says she almost hit another officer, so they dragged her out of the car, using a stun gun or a taser in the process. Then she says a police officer yanked her phone away and deleted the video off her phone.
Now even though the footage was initially erased, Mwamba’s phone was automatically backing the file up into the cloud, and the video was later recovered off the internet.
The lawsuit comes at a time when incidents like the ones in Ferguson, Missouri and Staten Island, New York call into question numerous other cases where police have overstepped their bounds.