A man is accusing Metro Police of police brutality after a fight inside the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. 8 News NOW obtained exclusive video of the altercation.
Ian Tuuamalemalo, the man making the allegations and suing Metro Police, says the video is difficult to watch.
“They could have killed me,” he said.
The video shows him being tugged on his shirt, followed by what may be a punch. He is shown being taken to the ground by police, restrained and carried out. Tuuamalemalo appears to be passed out.
“I don’t like being helpless,” he said.
The incident occurred January 26, 2014. The 34-year-old man says he was visiting from California for a reggae show at the Hard Rock, when he had a run-in with Metro Police.
He and his attorney Cal Potter provided the surveillance video to 8 News NOW.
“Society has said, you know, we’re going to hold these police officers accountable. We’re going to allow private attorneys to come in and sue for violations of civil rights,” Potter said.
They claim this is excessive use of force by police. Since there is no audio, it is unclear how this started and what was said between police and Tuuamalemalo.
A Metro report describes him as aggressive and refers to his size. He says, at the time, he was nearly 380 pounds, and stands 6’1”.
He says he was walking away, when someone tugged his shirt.
“I just remembered I turned around. Right when I turned around, that’s when I seen the officer. He just had a, just a full swing, just takes one to my face,” he said.
“There is no excuse for that,” Potter added.
Potter says he’s concerned about the tactics used to restrain his client.
“In a perfect world, the United States Attorney’s Office would pick up this case, and prosecute it and indict the officers that were involved,” he said.
Tuuamalemalo was arrested for resisting a public officer and destroying property at the Hard Rock. The charges were later dropped.
He says he complained to Metro Police. He received letter in January 2015 – approximately a year after the incident – stating a policy violation was found to be sustained. It does not state, however, what that violation is and who may have been held accountable.
“There is a blue wall of silence that we are all aware that work in the police misconduct business and civil rights violations,” Potter said.
8 News NOW reached out to Metro Police for information about the incident, as well as official comment from Metro. 8 News NOW was told no one was available to comment Tuesday, and that Metro typically doesn’t comment on pending litigation anyway.
According to a report, there were concerns about crowd control and fights; that’s why the officers may have been at the Hard Rock in the first place.
Potter says he believes the person who may have thrown a punch is a Metro Police sergeant, but 8 News NOW could not confirm that.