KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Roderick Reed, the man cited for stopping his car in the street to take video as two Kansas City, Missouri, police officers arrested a woman outside a beauty shop, filed a multi-million civil lawsuit Friday against the city and those two officers.
Charles Prichard and Matthew Brummett had a bloodied Brianna Hill face down on the sidewalk May 24, 2019, near Brush Creek Boulevard and Virginia Avenue after responding to a reported disturbance.
Reed stopped to take video of what he perceived to be an unnecessarily brutal arrest.
According to a petition for damages filed Friday in Jackson County Circuit Court, Reed said “he saw police officers coldcock a woman to the pavement” and “was immediately concerned” about Hill’s well-being.
Hill had her hands cuffed behind her back and was face down during the arrest, an altercation for which a grand jury indicted Prichard and Brummett on misdemeanor assault charges last month.
Reed said he watched the officers kneel on Hill’s back and neck, twist her handcuffed arms, slam her head into the concrete and repeatedly knee her in the face, ribs and torso, according to the lawsuit.
Upon seeing Reed filming the encounter from his vehicle, one of the officers told Reed to “move along” because he was “blocking traffic.”
Reed “believed that Hill would be killed if he did not continue recording” and also feared the officers might “assault and injure him,” according to court documents.
Eventually, Reed was ticketed for failure to obey a lawful command and parking his vehicle in the roadway. He was found guilty in February and sentenced to 30 days in jail and a year of probation.
The vehicle violation was subsequently overturned and Reed requested a jury trial on the other charge, which had been scheduled for July 30
Mayor Quinton Lucas announced June 4 that he had pardoned Reed, noting that his video was key evidence in securing the indictment of Brummett and Prichard.
Reed’s lawyers, James D. Walker and Mark O. Moore, argued that the citations were punishment “for video-taping the assault,” claiming audio recordings of the officers’ conversations between each other and with dispatch corroborate the retaliation.
Reed is seeking $5 million in damages for unlawful detention, emotional distress, attorney’s fees, and because he now fears for his life.
KCPD said in a statement that the department “regrets all of the circumstances surrounding this incident” but added: “Due to the pending civil and criminal litigation, the Department cannot provide further comment at this time.”
Hill, a transgender woman, was later killed in a shooting last October.