Lawsuit: Newark Cops Illegally Detained High School Student

NEWARK, NJ (CBSNewYork/AP) – A federal civil rights lawsuit claims Newark police officers illegally handcuffed and detained a high school honors student who made a cell phone video of them responding to an incident on a New Jersey Transit bus.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney: They Made Her Cry

The lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Newark by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Seton Hall Law School Center for Social Justice.

It claims Khaliah Fitchette, 17, was unlawfully threatened with criminal charges and that the officers illegally seized her cellphone and deleted the video.

“She grabbed me and pulled me off the bus and took me to the cop car which was behind the bus,” Fitchette told WCBS 880 reporter Levon Putney. “… and then I just started crying.”

A police department spokesman did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment Monday.

The lawsuit says Fitchette and several classmates were riding a city bus in March 2010 when a man in front of them collapsed. Newark Police Officers Noemi Maloon and Lloyd Thomas responded to the scene and after spotting Fitchette videotaping the incident, ordered her to turn the phone off. The lawsuit claims Fitchette was detained when she refused and that officers ignored her repeated pleas to call her mother.

The ACLU is asking the Justice Department to investigate the Newark Police Department.

“Individuals at the highest levels of the Newark Police Department have continued to turn a blind eye to repeated, pervasive unlawful behavior by its officers,” said Seton Hall Law Professor Baher Azmy. “The abuse of the rights of Newark citizens will continue, unless the Newark Police Department finally confronts and implements serious reforms among its officers.”

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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Comments

One Comment

  1. Noble El Shabazz says:

    First of all police are NOT feudal lords/slave masters who have absolute authority to arbitrarily order people around!! People do not have to obey police just because they say so!! In America People are FREE(Sovereign) & police are NOT The Law, Police are nothing more than public “SERVANTS” OF The Law who do NOT have any authority to “Prohibit” People from doing anything EXCEPT for ONLY what “The Law” of the land(The Constitution) Prohibits!! The Law is clear that ALL People(including cops & unconscious men),in any PUBLIC Place, have absolutely NO Expectation of privacy & CAN Be Videoed without their consent, therefore the young lady did NOT break the law and had every right to video ANYTHING in Public, and the police had absolutely “NO” authority to order her to stop videoing!! The young lady videoing the unconscious man did not violate his rights because,according to Law, he has no right to privacy in a PUBLIC place, and videoing the incident in NO WAY “interferes” with the police doing their job!! It is a Racist and, or Arrogant “Presumption” that the Students were “obnoxious”, or that they “crowded” the poor man. Refusing to fearfully bow down to cops who violate your rights is NOT obnoxious, it is “courageous”, and if she “really” had “crowded” the man the cops would’ve charged her with “Obstruction”, which they did not!! She was released WITHOUT Charge!! The police were the obnoxious ones who actually “Broke The Law”-they committed an “illegal detention” and “illegal seizure” and a “false & malicious arrest” because they had no lawful grounds to detain her or to take away her property(cell phone) & erase her video, which other reports indicate they did!! Those who wrote negative comments about the young lady obviously are IGNORANT of The Law(but ignorance of the law is No Excuse) or they are crooked cops themselves who are also guilty of violating peoples rights, or they are racist who don’t care if our people’s rights are violated, they just expect our people to bow down like slaves to the police like they’re our masters!! Those days are loooong gone-Power to The People!!!

  2. Danielle Morgan Parrish says:

    I am so sick of hearing people cry about having their “rights” violated. What about the rights of the man who was unconscious and needed medical attention to save his life? Were his rights not as important as that girls right to film on a city bus? Is his life of so little value? If one of my children did this they would be writing apology letters to the officers involved and to the man whose life they almost ended.

  3. Micha says:

    “The abuse of the rights of Newark citizens will continue, unless the Newark Police Department finally confronts and implements serious reforms among its officers.” While I agree that the cops went a little too far in this and probably should have just held her until her mom could come pick her up, I can understand their frustrations. They are responding to a call that someone has collapsed and the last thing they need is a bunch of obnoxious teenagers with their cell phones crowding the poor man. She’s lucky the man who collapsed isn’t as lawsuit happy as she is, because if i were him, I would sue her for unlawfully obtaining my image without my consent..

    1. Shady420 says:

      Unlawfully obtaining your image without consent…. HAHAHA thats laughable you have your persons video taped and or photographed at least 15 times a day. Thats not even a law hahahahaha

  4. StopTheBS says:

    I think cops should start suing people who interfere with them doing their job. After all, don’t they have civil rights too? I also think people’s comments should meet a minimum grammar and spelling requirement. That would eliminate 90 per cent of these asinine postings. Finally, if people don’t stop making everything about race…..pretty soon it really will be. And it surely won’t be pretty

    1. PI says:

      How does getting filmed interfere with your work?

      Cops – unlike private citizens – feed at the taxpayer trough and ought to be accountable to taxpayers (or their legal guardians).

      They are public servants specifically because they wield powers other individuals do not possess.

      Somehow, individuals like you think that enforcers of the law are incapable of breaking the law, which is what these pigs did.

  5. HARLEM GOING H.A.M. says:

    THE POLICE NEVER WOULD DID THAT IF SHE WAS A WHITE GIRL. EVEN THE BLACK OFFICERS DON’T ACT LIKE THAT WHEN IT COMES WHITE PEOPLE. SOME OF THESE BLACK POLICE OFFICERS MIGHT AS WELL JOIN THE KKK; BECUASE, THEY ARE SILENT ABOUT THE ABUSE THEY SEE AND SOME TIMES INFLICT ON OTHER BLACK PEOPLE. I KNOW BLACK POLICE OFFICERS WITNESS THEM DETAINING THAT YOUNG GIRL, AND DID NOTHING, WHICH IS WORST.

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