ACLU lawsuit: Columbus man assaulted, arrested for recording SWAT activity from front porch

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The ACLU of Ohio has filed a lawsuit against Columbus Police officers, claiming they assaulted and arrested the man while he was recording police activity from his porch.

According to the lawsuit, Columbus resident Nick Pettit was standing on the front porch of his home because he heard a disturbance in his neighborhood as approximately six members of a Columbus Police SWAT team were serving a search warrant across the street.

Pettit then began recording the interaction between police and his neighbors – a grandmother and two grandchildren, the lawsuit states.

“He recorded the police mistreating his neighbors, including smacking the compliant teenaged grandson on the face,” the lawsuit states. “Mr. Pettit told the police to stop it, and said that he had them on camera. They told him to go inside. He did not, and kept filming.”

The lawsuit alleges that two officers and their commanding sergeant approached Pettit’s home, yelling at him to get back into the house. Officers then allegedly slammed Pettit down, threatened him, took his phone, and arrested him, according to the lawsuit.

Four Columbus Police personnel – sergeants James Morrow and Joseph Podolski and officers Kenneth Dale and Glenn Thivener – are named in the suit.

The Columbus Division of Police as a whole is not named as a defendant in the suit.

The lawsuit alleges violations of Pettit’s 1st, 4th, and 14th Amendment rights as well as assault and battery.

The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages, costs and attorney’s fees, and other relief deemed appropriate by the court. No specific amount is listed in the lawsuit.

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