A Webbers Falls police officer who allegedly disabled his body camera before beating a mother and son from Porum is now facing a lawsuit accusing him of excessive force. The suit also names the police department.
Patricia Ann Smith and Jessie Carlos Smith were arrested Nov. 24, 2015 after Lieutenant Tim Gilbert stopped Patricia Smith’s youngest son, a juvenile, and determined that the juvenile was only permitted, not licensed. Patricia Smith and Jessie Smith were called to the scene by Gilbert to retrieve the juvenile, but when they arrived, the lawsuit alleges, Gilbert started slamming Jessie Smith on the car and physically assaulting Patricia Smith.
Patricia Smith filmed the incident on her cell phone, which was later confiscated but not erased by Gilbert.
The suit alleges Gilbert lied to the press about the incident and falsified reports to get the pair charged with assaulting him. Those charges were dismissed when the cell phone video came to light.
Gilbert is alleged to have assaulted Patricia Smith and “chased her into traffic on the highway” after “causing severe physical harm” to Jessie Smith.
The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $75,000 and also accuses Webbers Falls and Gilbert of malicious prosecution, knowing the pair weren’t guilty of assaulting Gilbert. The cell phone video was not viewed for more than a year after the incident.