A dash cam police video (below) has surfaced of a white cop smashing a black man's head into a police cruiser windshield with enough force to break the glass in Lorain, Ohio, in September 2014.
The video, aired on Sept. 29 by WKYC, shows Pele Smith being handcuffed by police and led over to the cruiser; suddenly, his face slams down onto the windshield.
After the violent incident, Smith was treated at a local hospital for facial injuries. He was subsequently charged with tampering with evidence, obstructing official business and resisting arrest.
Smith pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors, and was sentenced to probation. However, he filed a civil rights lawsuit against several cops and the City of Lorain in August.
In his lawsuit, Smith accuses Officer Zachary Ferenec of smashing him into the windshield, and claims that three other police officers refused to interfere, which appears to be backed up on the video.
Smith's lawsuit also alleges that Officer Michael Gidich sat in the back of cruiser and "began to taunt and insult the bleeding [Smith]" while Smith was taken to the local hospital at taxpayer expense.
"Wow, it’s unbelievable," Smith's lawyer, Mark Petrol, stated. "It’s sad. It’s frightening."
"The biggest thugs are wearing blue uniforms," said the head of the Cleveland NAACP.
"And nobody flinches," Nina Turner, former Ohio lawmaker, added. "Not one officer thought that was abnormal."
Lorain Police Chief Cel Rivera said in a statement on Sept. 29 that Smith is "a violent drug trafficker," and insisted that the video "does not tell the complete story" and "could be misunderstood" by people.
However, Rivera's accusation of Smith being "a violent drug trafficker" is not backed up by court records, which do not show Smith with any felony convictions for violent crimes; Smith has reportedly been convicted for drug charges and possessing a gun.
Rivera also said that Smith was actively resisting in the video:
During the arrest and Mr. Smith’s active resistance, he was placed on the hood of the police unit to gain control and conduct a search, as per policy. I would caution observers to not rush to judgment relative to the actions of the police on scene. Although it is not easy to watch, police officers explain all of their actions in their police reports.
RT.com notes "the video merely shows Smith calling out to his mother to look after his son."
According to WKYC, the Lorain police have not yet released a police record for this two-year-old incident.
WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO