Protest Video Saves Cop in Excessive Force Case
WASHINGTON (CN) - Video footage disproves police-abuse claims from a woman who resisted arrest at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund protest, a federal judge ruled.
Nicole Armbruster sued the city and Metro police officer Eric Frost after her arrest during the April 21, 2012, protest against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
In her complaint, Armbruster said Frost and other cops descended on her after she tried to hurry along another protester, Nancy Munoz Wolfson, stopped in the middle of the street.
"Officer Frost grabbed Ms. Armbruster and, assisted by several other MPD officers, pulled her over to the side of a car," her complaint stated. "Officer Frost, without warning, then slammed Ms. Armbruster's face into the hood of the car."
Armbruster denied trying to escape or resist Frost.
"After Ms. Armbruster had been bent over the hood of the car for approximately ten seconds, not moving, Officer Frost, without warning, assisted by one or more officers, threw Ms. Armbruster to the ground, causing cuts and bruises to her face and bruises to her knee," the complaint stated.
U.S. District Judge Amy Jackson found Monday, however, that video recordings of Armbruster's arrest "quite clearly contradict plaintiff's version of the story."
The recordings show Armbruster's friend was not simply standing in the street. Instead, Munoz Wolfson was being detained and struggling with police, according to the ruling.
"Plaintiff walked into the center of the street where Ms. Munoz Wolfson was being detained and began pulling Ms. Munoz Wolfson toward her while two police officers attempted to hold on," Jackson wrote.
The video shows Frost pulling Armbruster out of the fray and the two falling onto the hood of a car. Frost then pulled her off the car, keeping her hands behind her back to keep her from interfering with her friend's detention.
"While the complaint characterizes plaintiff as docile and cooperative, the tapes show that she struggled with and tried to escape from Officer Frost throughout the encounter," the judge wrote. "Once she was fully upright, plaintiff immediately jerked herself away from Officer Frost and moved toward Ms. Munoz Wolfson."
Video also shows that Armbruster did break free from Frost, at which point police brought her to the ground and Frost placed his knee over her left arm while handcuffing her.
"Although the videos provide obstructed views of the handcuffing and moments following, one can observe that plaintiff was able to stand up and walk with Officer Frost without any difficulty immediately after she was handcuffed," Jackson wrote.
The judge added: "By the time plaintiff was pinned to the ground, she had lunged, rotated, and jerked herself away from Officer Frost three times."
Frost used appropriate force when arresting Armbruster, and therefore will not hold Frost or the city liable for her injuries, according to the ruling.