A street vendor who was arrested by Metro Transit Police is now suing the officer who took him into custody, claiming that the arrest violated his constitutional rights, among other accusations.
Police arrested Lawrence Miller in late May after he spoke out against officers who allegedly threw his friend, Dwight Harris, from a wheelchair, according to the lawsuit. He's joined in his lawsuit by the ACLU.
The incident took place on May 19 outside the Metro station on U Street Northwest between 13th and 14th Streets. Residents and workers in the area say Harris has been a fixture in the community selling "Street Sense," the newspaper of the homeless, for years.
Miller claims he questioned the officers but the defendant, Metro Transit Police officer Fred Price threatened to arrest him.
Price then followed and arrested Miller when he tried to walk away, he claims. He was cited and was required to appear in court, where all the charges were dropped.
“Officer Price’s actions violated the plaintiff’s rights under the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution,” the lawsuit states.
A video of the incident involving Harris was posted on YouTube. It shows two officers, one on each side of Harris seeming to lift him out of the wheelchair and then crashing to the ground with him face first.
The U.S. Attorney's office charged Harris with assault on police officers, but later dropped those charges.