Justice Freeman has filed a lawsuit against the Gary Police Department, claiming he was wrongfully arrested and searched.
The lawsuit stems from an incident that occurred on July 3 in Gary, Indiana. Freeman left his house a little after midnight to run an errand at a gas station close by. When he switched on his turn signal at an intersection, to turn south on Main St., he said he saw several cop cars traveling a short distance behind him. Freeman said he felt unnerved after he saw the cop cars speeding up, so he drove back to his house and parked along the curb.
“Although Mr. Freeman was already parked at the time that he saw the emergency lights, he knew that he was being ‘pulled over’ or stopped by the police. He therefore did not exit his vehicle, and he did not feel free to leave or otherwise end the encounter. A reasonable person would not have felt free to leave or otherwise end the encounter,” the lawsuit says.
According to the suit, the police officers pulled Freeman over under a false claim that he was speeding and his car smelled of marijuana.
After Freeman provided officer D. Gutierrez with his driver’s license, Gutierrez immediately asked, “Where’s the weed?”
The lawsuit claims Guitierrez then ordered Freeman to get out of the car. After Freeman asked him multiple times why he was pulled over, Guitierrez hit him in the head, told him to shut up, grabbed his shoulders and pressed him against the car while conducting a search.
After he was in handcuffs and in the police vehicle, Freeman yelled out to his fiance, who as close to their home, that he was being beaten and to call 911.
Another officer at the scene allegedly threatened to arrest the fiance if she didn’t stop recording and go inside.
The lawsuit says that even though Freeman’s car was parked outside his home, police had it impounded and towed away.
Records show that police didn’t find any marijuana or other illegal items in his car.
Freeman said that he didn’t have the funds to pay the $500 fee to get his car back and has accrued $2,000 in storage fees since then. Freeman says that he has suffered physical pain and emotional distress from the incident and requests a jury trial.