CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Charlottesville Police Department is under fire after an internal affairs investigation revealed an officer unlawfully detained LaQuinn Gilmore in January. The report shows he violated a number of policing policies.
“I truly thought I was gonna die,” Gilmore said. “The way he pulled me down was like I was a wild animal or something almost like he was wrangling a horse or something.”
Gilmore says he was assaulted and harassed by Officer Joseph Wood for no good reason on the night of January 11.
“My hand got infected, I’m taking antibiotics, and as I’m driving, I start feeling queasy,” Gilmore said. “I parked the car, got out my car, and I’m dry heaving because I had not eaten with the antibiotics.”
Gilmore says that is when Officer Wood approached him, asking for his license and registration. He immediately began recording the events unfolding between him and Officer Wood on Facebook Live. Gilmore says more CPD cars began pulling up to the scene.
“Am I being arrested or detained?” Gilmore said he asked Officer Wood. In Gilmore’s Facebook Live video, Officer Wood tells Gilmore he is being detained but does not provide a reason. “Next thing I know, I’m being slammed to the ground,” Gilmore said.
According to emergency room documentation Gilmore sent to NBC29 from January 12, he suffered a closed-head injury with a concussion, contusion on his lower leg, and acute bilateral thoracic back pain. Gilmore and his lawyer Jeff Fogel filed an internal affairs complaint.
The investigation reveals Officer Wood unlawfully detained Gilmore and used force that violated policy during the takedown.
“We’re pleased that we got some positive reaction from the police department, recognizing that what happened was wrong, and clearly in the way they phrased it, factually violated the Constitution,” Fogel said.
Both Gilmore and Fogel want to see the body camera footage but the Charlottesville Police Department has refused to show it.
“I don’t know what they’re hiding because apparently they looked at the body cams and came to the conclusion that what the officer did was principally wrong in every regard,” Fogel said.
Fogel says there are other missing pieces to the puzzle as well.
“They won’t tell us the name of the other officers who were on the scene, who may have been able to see something, or who may have been guilty of failing to intervene when all of this was going on,” he said.
Gilmore and Fogel plan to file a lawsuit soon in order to seek justice for the alleged assault, and hopefully get Gilmore’s medical bills covered.
“I’ve been through this so many years with so many different police departments, I almost have to laugh sometimes as I get outraged about why are you playing this game,” Fogel said. “You’re gonna lose it in the end and all of these roadblocks you want to put up...well, we’re going to overcome them in a case like this.”
CPD Spokesperson Tyler Hawn says the police department plans to hold a press conference next week to discuss this case.