Section: CAPITAL REGION Page: B8 Date: Thursday, December 2, 1999
STORE VIDEO AT CENTER OF LEGAL BATTLE AFTER ARBOR HILL ARRESTSBRENDAN LYONS Staff writer
City lawyers tried unsuccessfully Wednesday to subpoena the original surveillance tape from an Arbor Hill market where three men claim police used excessive force and racial slurs when arresting them last month. Two of the men were charged with resisting arrest, and all three were charged with disorderly conduct. Police allege the trio interfered with the arrest of a fourth man on minor marijuana charges.But some black community leaders claim the arrests were triggered by police overreaction in the wake of two officers being shot earlier that day on North Swan Street. The suspect in the police shooting is still at large. Darryl Lahon, the owner of Fat Dee's Grocery Store on Clinton Avenue, obtained an order from state Supreme Court Justice Harold J. Hughes Wednesday afternoon blocking the city's subpoena. Randall E. Kehoe, Lahon's lawyer, said a hearing on the city's attempt to confiscate the video will take place next week. Corporation Counsel Gary Stiglmeier could not be reached for comment.
Lahon also filed a notice of claim against the city Wednesday alleging police illegally searched his market and turned off the surveillance camera as they arrested his clerk and two customers in front of the store on Nov. 13. The tape will be used as evidence in the lawsuit, Kehoe said. After arresting Lahon's clerk, Warren Washington, police entered the store to get a key so they could lock the front door, officials said. But Lahon claims several police officers used the opportunity to illegally search his store for drugs. ``Everything was askew,'' Lahon said. ``Papers were taken out from under the counter and thrown about and the stuff on the shelves was a mess and things were thrown on the floor.'' City police officials said Lahon already gave them a copy of the surveillance tape. But they want the original tape because they believe the quality of the video and audio will be better, officials said. Police Chief John C. Nielsen said the tape would aid an internal probe of the allegations of excessive force and racial slurs. Nielsen said it may have been improper for officers to turn off Lahon's surveillance camera. ``It was their (initial) intention to take the tape as evidence,'' Nielsen said. ``Barring any extenuating circumstances, turning off the tape would have been questionable.'' The three men arrested outside Fat Dee's -- Washington, 29, Sean Foskey, 23, and Almasi Forrest, 24 -- have already filed claims against the city alleging they were beaten by police officers and arrested without cause. As evidence, Kehoe said he is relying largely on the videotape.