A police officer in Philadelphia is facing legal action after allegedly deleting a suspect’s cell phone video of his arrest. According to TMZ, the arrest occurred back in March when officer Burnett noticed a pickup truck idling at a gas station for 10 to 15 minutes. After running the car’s plates, Burnett identified the driver as Jacob Giddings.
According to a police report, Giddings had an active warrant for his arrest for an assault charge, so Burnett and the other responding officers attempted to detain him. Police say that Giddings, who was sitting inside the car with another man, resisted arrest.
During Burnett’s body-worn camera video, which was released to the public on Wednesday (June 9), Giddings can be seen holding his phone up to the police officers and telling them that he is recording the incident. Burnett then forcibly removes Giddings from the car, during which the phone is dropped and a struggle can be heard.
Later, Burnett is seen picking up Giddings’ phone and accessing its videos. Giddings says the video he recorded was deleted from his phone. The police report has no record of Giddings even taking the video, but the officer’s handling of the phone was caught on his body-worn camera. In the footage, Burnett later returns the phone to Giddings while he was sitting in the back of the cop car. Giddings asks Burnett, “Is my video still on there?” to which Burnett replies, “I don’t know.”
According to police, Giddings was found to have possession of marijuana during their search and he was arrested and charged with resisting arrest and drug possession. The man also suffered cuts to his wrists from the struggle and was later taken to a hospital for treatment.
Giddings has now hired a legal team and is suing the Philadelphia Police Department for excessive force and assault, tampering with evidence, false arrest and malicious prosecution. Giddings’ lawyer, Donte Mills of Mills &. Edwards LLP, was able to recover the deleted video of his arrest through Giddings’ iCloud account.
The Philadelphia Police Department said in a statement that they are investigating the accusations against Burnett. So far, TMZ reports that no disciplinary action has been taken.
“This incident is currently under investigation with our Internal Affairs Bureau,” the department said. “The officer involved has been placed on administrative duty status pending the outcome of the internal investigation.”
See the video via TMZ below.