Alex Garland was photographing a May Day protest in Seattle last year when he was plucked out of a crowd of demonstrators and arrested on felony charges.
Seattle police officer Stephen Smith, dressed in full riot gear and surrounded by countless other cops dressed just like him, claimed Garland tried to push past him to get to his friend, who was also being arrested.
And as Smith tried his hardest to keep Garland from overpowering the wall of cops, Garland grabbed Smith’s left wrist with both hands and twisted, causing him to recoil in agony.
Other officers quickly jumped to Smith’s rescue and arrested Garland before he could injure any more officers, throwing him in jail for 26 hours. And he was charged with third degree felony assault, which could have landed him in prison for five years.
But then a Youtube video emerged proving that all Garland did was wave his left hand while holding his camera in his right hand, that none of the above occurred, so the charges were quickly dropped.
Garland is the photographer with the bandanna over his face that comes into the picture at :18. He said he was wearing the bandanna because he had been pepper sprayed earlier that day.
On Monday, Garland filed a federal lawsuit against the Seattle Police Department, something they are well accustomed to considering it has dished out $2.4 million in settlements this year alone.
According to KING5:
In its charging documents, Seattle Police alleged Garland “had tried to push past” Officer Stephen Smith and refused to move back. Law enforcement then claimed Garland “kept trying to get by Officer Smith to the prisoner”.
Officer Smith put his hand on Garland’s chest to keep him away when, according to the documents, “Garland grabbed Officer Smith’s left hand with both hands and twisted and squeezed, causing Officer Smith pain and concern”.
Garland was charged with Third Degree Assault, a felony.
However, YouTube video surfaced soon after, contradicting the police department’s account. It shows Garland waving his hand at Officer Smith, but is then pulled into a crowd of officers and arrested.
Garland said if not for the online video, “I’d still probably be in jail.”