DC woman's charges dropped after body cam video released

The case was headed to trial until her attorney got ahold of the body camera footage.

WASHINGTON - She was arrested and charged with a crime she didn't commit. The case was headed to trial, until her attorney got ahold of the body camera footage.

The woman, who did not want to be identified, was arrested by DC Police for having an open container of alcohol. She says, she was wrongfully arrested. But when it's a classic case of he said, she said, how do you prove it? Her attorney had an idea.

We've seen the importance of body camera footage, it's usually a life-and-death situation, such as a police-involved shooting. But what about an open container arrest? "An average run of the mill case," said George Lyon, the attorney.

Lyon said his client was arrested in the Trinidad neighborhood in NE DC in August. Police said the can of beer and a bottle of tequila they found on the sidewalk belonged to Lyon's client.

"My client said she was not guilty," says Lyon.

Not only that: She said she was arrested for doing something that wasn't illegal at all; getting an attitude with the officer.

"So I asked her, were the officers wearing body cameras? She said yes," says Lyon.

Lyon requested the video from her arrest, and the evidence was there. On the tape, you can hear the officer saying, "You got an attitude? OK, you can come with us, too."

"People have the right to have an attitude and not get arrested," said Lyon.

The video further proved her innocence, when it was clear the alcohol in question was nowhere near his client.

"She couldn't even get to it," said Lyon. "It wasn't within her car."

Which means, she should never have been arrested in the first place. In the end, the prosecution dropped the charges.

Lyon said more and more attorneys are requesting body camera footage for their clients. Lyon also said as more officers wear body cameras, the number of complaints against police officers has gone down, effectively keeping everyone involved honest.

We reached out to DC Police for a comment on this story and have not heard back. DC Police are now required to confirm with dispatchers that their body cameras are on. More than 1,000 DC Officers wear body cameras now.

(© 2016 WUSA)


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