MW was charged with obstruction of justice after police, in hot pursuit, followed her brother to the location of her family home. At that time, the police came to the front door and spoke with MW about her brother. The police created a report stating MW would not let them in the house and that she told them that she did not know where her brother was. The police reports indicated that MW was escorted away from her home, not in handcuffs, and placed in a police car. The reports stated that she was not placed under arrest. The reports further indicated that at the police station, MW stated she locked her brother in the house’s basement and that when the police asked her where her brother was, she lied to them. The reports given to us by the state’s attorney’s office stated that she was only arrested after admitting that she lied to the police.
Lawyers from the firm spoke to our client, and she indicated that the reports were untruthful. MW told us that she was taken to the police car in handcuffs, and the police had their weapons drawn. We filed a freedom of information act (FOIA) request requesting the body-worn camera (BWC) of all the officers involved. We reviewed the evidence that was given to us by the state’s attorney’s office. Our attorneys asked the prosecuting attorney if he had any videos to give us from the arrest. The prosecutor stated that he was told there were no videos.
We eventually were able to make the police department honor our FOIA request. We received videos that proved, that the officers were invited into the house and that MW was put in handcuffs and taken to the police car by officers who were holding automatic assault-style rifles. At this point, we knew that the actions of the police violated the constitutional right for one to be free of improper search and seizure. We filed the appropriate motion immediately and informed the state’s attorney’s office about our findings. The prosecutor was angry at the police officers for lying. On the next court date, the charges were dismissed.