Man Claims Videotape Shows Alleged Police Beating - 8 News NOW

Man Claims Videotape Shows Alleged Police Beating

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Officer Colling during a coroner's inquest Officer Colling during a coroner's inquest

LAS VEGAS -- A Las Vegas man is planning to sue the Metropolitan Police Department after he says a police officer was caught on camera forcefully arresting him because he was videotaping police activity. The officer is defending his actions by saying he had "reasonable cause."

Mitchell Crooks says he was in the driveway of a friend's home, testing out his new camera on the night of March 20, when the officer confronted him.

Metro police were across the street near Desert Inn Rd. and Maryland Pkwy. investigating a home burglary. As police left, Officer Derek Colling asked Crooks, "Can I help you, sir?" and Crooks responded, "just observing." Officer Colling said in his police report that based on Crooks' answers, he had a "reasonable belief" that Crooks was trespassing.

The videotape shows Officer Derek Colling telling Mitchell Crooks to put down his camera and when Crooks refuses to stop taping, the officer takes him to the ground by force. The following audio can be heard on the videotape. 

Read Officer Colling's arrest report against Mitchell Crooks

Officer Colling: "Listen, turn off the camera for me."

Crooks: "No sir, I am within my legal rights to do this."

Officer Colling: "You don't live here."

Crooks: "I do live here. I just said I live here."

Officer Colling: "Hands on the ground."

"I felt very vulnerable and I was scared. I honestly thought I was going to die," said Crooks. He did not live in the home but was there watching his former roommate's pets.

Officer Colling's report says Crooks grabbed him by the shoulders and attempted to take the officer to the ground. Crooks says the videotape shows Officer Colling was the aggressor, claiming he was punched in the face and kicked several times. Crooks was arrested that night.

"There is absolutely no law against filming the police on the street," said Allen Lichtenstein, ACLU. "It wasn't obstructing because he wasn't doing anything. It wasn't that Mr. Crooks had gotten involved in what was going on across the street."

The charges against Crooks have been dropped and the videotape that was confiscated by Metro police was returned to Crooks. Metro police have not yet responded to questions from 8 News NOW into whether Officer Colling is on administrative leave. Metro says Colling is on paid administrative leave.

Crooks attorney has filed a notice of a complaint and they are asking for $500,000 in damages.

Officer Colling has been involved in prior controversy. Two coroner's inquests found him justified in officer involved shootings in 2006 and again in 2009. 

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