WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS EXPLICIT LANGUAGE
A recent lawsuit against the Collegedale Police Department has been dismissed as the city claims the officer named in the complaint was misidentified, something the plaintiff's attorney says couldn't previously be verified because the city refused to give his client a police report.
The city of Collegedale and reserve officer Sammy Previlus are named in the $300,000 lawsuit filed last week, which alleged the officer assaulted, battered, falsely arrested and unreasonably seized a man named Matthew Gilmore during a January traffic stop.
Gilmore's attorney Robin Flores filed to dismiss the lawsuit on Friday, after records previously unreleased by the city showed the officer involved in the incident was not Previlus, but former Collegedale Police Department Officer Jordan Long.
Flores said the officer's identity could not be confirmed because the city refused to give Gilmore a police report or incident number and was "terse" when the attorney asked for records.
"Given the track record of Collegedale, we figured we would not be getting any response any time soon. My client began looking at alternate ways of identifying the officer," Attorney Robin Flores said Tuesday. "The city has not been responsive to me or my client, so we've been doing what we could in good faith to identify the responsible parties. The one thing that is very clear is that the city of Collegedale never told anything to my client or provided any details of how to move forward after this happened."
Collegedale spokeswoman Bridgett Raper declined to comment on the lawsuit and concerns about the records.
"In regards to your questions about the apparent lack of a police report associated with the incident, our city attorney advises that the case has been dismissed without prejudice, which means it is possible that it could be revived," Raper said in an email Tuesday. "Under the circumstances he advises no further comment."
In records released to the Times Free Press on Tuesday, Long's account of what took place that night does not match what is seen in dash and body camera footage.
Long states that he was looking for a vehicle suspected in a hit-and-run earlier that night when he saw Gilmore's truck that matched the description and pulled him over in the 9800 block of Lee Highway.
Incident report for Matthew Gilmore traffic stopView
In his incident report, Long states the driver "immediately opened the driver side door and began to yell and act hostile towards [sic] me raising his hands while he continued to shout.
"I then grabbed the suspects [sic] arms and pulled him out of the vehicle."
Long goes on to say that Gilmore was resisting and did not comply with his orders.
But dash and body camera footage shows Long approach the driver's side door, flashlight in hand, and almost immediately attempt to open the door.
"Get out ya truck," he orders. "Were you in a wreck today?"
Gilmore voluntarily opens the door and responds, "No, I ain't hit no damn body. Man, I been at the house."
"You ain't hit nobody?" Long continues. "Get out the car."
Gilmore then begins to step out when Long grabs his arm, turns him around to face the truck, folds his arms behind his back and then yanks him into oncoming traffic.
Another officer, who is not identified in any records and whose body camera footage was not released, is seen attempting to stop Long and Gilmore from getting too far into the road.
Long keeps Gilmore on the pavement, wet from the rain, and cuffs him before eventually placing him in the back of his patrol vehicle.
Once inside the patrol vehicle, Gilmore angrily demands that the police figure out what they're doing, complaining that when Long threw him into the roadway, he was almost hit by a car.
An officer is heard offering to call an ambulance for a "small cut" to his forehead, but Gilmore declines treatment. An ambulance is called anyway.
But before the ambulance arrives, the second officer, who identifies himself as Long's supervisor, explains to Gilmore that he was pulled over for "investigation purposes" because his truck matched the description of the one involved in the hit-and-run.
"I woulda liked to known that before he yanked me up out of the truck," Gilmore says.
"I am very clear on that," the officer responds. "That will be addressed. 'Cause I'm his supervisor."
"I'm just getting told get out of the truck like I'm a damn convict or something," Gilmore continues. "What have I done, man? I ain't hardly understand what was going on, man. I was freaked out."
"I apologize for that," the officer says. "Why don't you get out of the car. I'm gonna uncuff you. We just didn't know what was going on."
Former officer Jordan Long's disciplinary entry for traffic stopView
The incident was entered into Long's disciplinary record as a "supervisor notes entry," but an internal affairs investigation was never opened, said Kristen Boyd, Collegedale's human resources manager.
In the supervisor notes, Sgt. Michael Westfield notes that Long "never identified himself to the driver and never told the driver the reason for the stop," Westfield writes, noting Gilmore only began to resist when he was about to be cuffed.
"This stop should have merely been an investigatory stop and then released if not the vehicle," Westfield states.
Westfield stated he advised Long to study traffic stop policy and to "adhere to it if the situation allows." He also noted that Long said he "learned from his mistakes and will work on correcting the issue at hand."
Long resigned from the department on June 21 to pursue employment with another law enforcement agency.
Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at 423-757-6416 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @_SarahGTaylor.