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`You broke my wrist!' Ga. cops sued for taking down wrong man

This Valdosta police body camera image shows Antonio Arnelo Smith after he was taken down by Valdosta officers.
This Valdosta police body camera image shows Antonio Arnelo Smith after he was taken down by Valdosta officers.(WRDW)
Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 8:30 AM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. - A Black man in Georgia is accusing police of violating his civil rights, saying a white officer slammed him to the ground and broke his wrist in the mistaken belief that there was a warrant for his arrest.

An attorney for 46-year-old Antonio Arnelo Smith, of Valdosta, said he’s still in pain and emotionally devastated more than four months later. Smith is suing Valdosta police and other city leaders in federal court.

Body camera video shows Smith handing his driver’s license to a Black police officer and answering questions cooperatively before a white officer walks up behind him, wraps him in a bear hug and slams him face-first to the ground.

“Oh, my God, you broke my wrist!” Smith screams as two more white Valdosta officers arrive, holding him down and handcuffing him following the takedown. One eventually tells Smith he’s being arrested on an outstanding warrant, and is immediately corrected by the first officer: They’ve got the wrong man.

Clutching his wrist and whimpering, Smith was let go without charges after the violent encounter on Feb. 8.

Now he’s suing all four officers, as well as Valdosta’s police chief, mayor and others, saying police used excessive force and violated his civil rights.

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