ACLU: Columbus agrees to $20,000 settlement with man assaulted, arrested for filming police

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Columbus has agreed to pay $20,000 to a Columbus man who was allegedly assaulted and arrested for filming police in 2019.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, which filed a lawsuit against the city in January 2021, Nick Petit was arrested for filming “abuses” by a Columbus Police SWAT unit serving a search warrant on his street.

According to the lawsuit, 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.”

According to the lawsuit, two officers and their commanding sergeant approached Pettit’s home, yelling at him to go inside the house. The lawsuit claims officers slammed Pettit down, threatened him, took his phone, and arrested him.

The lawsuit named four Columbus Police personnel as defendants, but did not include the Columbus Division of Police as a whole.

“This isn’t about the money, but it is about the accountability. To me, it’s an acknowledgment that the police officers involved did wrong, and that’s the start of change for a better future for all of us,” Pettit said in a statement from the ACLU.

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