George Thompson settles a federal civil rights lawsuit for $72,500 after being arrested for filming the police. (credit: YouTube)
A Massachusetts man charged with wiretapping in 2014 for filming a local police officer with his iPhone is settling a federal civil rights lawsuit for $72,500.
According to court documents, a Fall River man named George Thompson saw a police officer outside his house cursing into his mobile phone while working traffic detail. The lawsuit said that Thompson began filming the officer, Thomas Barboza, with his mobile phone. The officer eventually pushed Thompson, 53, to the ground and handcuffed him, according to the lawsuit (PDF). Thompson spent a night in jail.
The arresting officer received a one-day suspension for conduct unbecoming of an officer—that is speaking profanities in public. The Fall River police erased the footage from the phone by typing in wrong passwords at least 10 times, which prompted the iPhone to restore to factory settings. That erasure was among the reasons the authorities dropped the wiretapping charges against Thompson, as the alleged evidence had been destroyed.
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