LORAIN, Ohio (WKYC) – Police in Lorain, Ohio are defending themselves against brutality claims raised by a man whose head was slammed into a cruiser with enough force to shatter the windshield.
The incident took place in September of 2014.
Recently obtained dashcam video hows Pele Smith, handcuffed from behind, being walked toward the police cruiser after being stopped for jaywalking.
Suddenly, Smith’s face is slammed into the windshield, causing the glass to shatter.
“It’s unbelievable. It’s sad. It’s frightening that an individual while in handcuffs has something like that happen to them,” said Mark Petroff, an Elyria attorney representing Smith.
After the September 2014 incident, Smith was treated at Mercy Regional Medical Center for facial injuries.
He was later charged with tampering with evidence, obstructing official business and resisting arrest. In a plea deal with prosecutors, Smith pleaded guilty and received probation.
Smith, 32, last month filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city and several officers. He is seeking unspecified damages. The case is in U.S. District Court in Cleveland. It is assigned to Judge Christopher Boyko.
Lorain Police Chief Cel Rivera released a statement Wednesday calling Smith “a violent drug trafficker” and said the video “does not tell the complete story” and “could be misunderstood” by the public.
According to the Lorain County Clerk of Courts website, Smith has no felony convictions for violent crimes such as assault or robbery. He has prior convictions for drug offenses and possessing a firearm.