The federal judge – in the wrongful death lawsuit filed against the city of Greensboro by Mary and George Smith, the parents of Marcus Deon Smith, who died on Sept. 8, 2018, after being in police custody – denied three motions filed on behalf of the Smiths.
US Magistrate Judge Joe Webster, in his order, also reprimands the plaintiffs (the Smiths) for attempting to try the case in the court of public opinion.
The Smiths motion – to unseal or make public the police body worn camera footage of 50 incidents that had been provided to the plaintiffs under seal – was denied.
Webster in his order states, “On its face, Plaintiff’s motion seemingly seeks to make the Exhibits public for nothing more than the improper purpose of promoting a public scandal.”
Mayor Nancy Vaughan said, “It was a good ruling and I appreciate the judge’s finding that: ‘The parties should focus their energy on resolving this case through the court system, not in the court of public opinion … (noting parties have an obligation to avoid using the media “to influence public opinion … to gain an advantage at trial).’”
During the public comment periods of City Council meetings, a number of people have spoken about the police body worn camera videos of 50 incidents where police used the Ripp Hobble device to restrain people. City Attorney Chuck Watts noted none of the speakers have a legal right to see the videos, and if any had seen the videos it would appear to be in violation of a court order.
The city had to get permission for the members of the City Council to view the videos from a North Carolina Superior Court judge. The judge granted members of the City Council the right to view the police body worn camera videos with the condition that they are not to speak publicly about the contents of the videos.
Marcus Smith was restrained by a Ripp Hobble device, commonly referred to as “hogtying,” before he died, and his death was ruled a “homicide” by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner of North Carolina.
Judge Webster also denied a motion to extend discovery and for the City of Greensboro to provide the police body worn camera footage of an additional 28 incidents where the Ripp Hobble was used. Greensboro had already provided the Smiths with the police body worn camera videos of 50 incidents where the Ripp Hobble was used.
And Webster denied a motion to allow the Smiths to amend the complaint to add a claim of “widespread custom or practice theory of Monell municipal liablity.”
The court had earlier denied this request and found that the allegation that new evidence not previously available was not convincing and that the request to amend the complaint had been filed 11 months after the deadline for such amendments.
Thank GOD there is still common sense in the world
This is a good ruling. The entire lawsuit needs to be dismissed. The officers who were involved acted in good faith and did not intend for this incident to end with the death of Smith. I find it interesting that people are coming out of the woodwork claiming to be related to Smith so they can lay claim to any proceeds which may awarded as a result of this lawsuit. The officers who were involved need to seek legal council and sue those who have wrongfully accused them of any wrong doing.
Now if only our city council would be up right citizens and encourage their only two brains cells to go in the same direction.
“the request to amend the complaint had been filed 11 months after the deadline for such amendments.”
Legal, schmegal! This druggie’s “parents” are ENTITLED!
Tax dollars pay for these body cameras. Murderous illegal use of equipment paid for by the public. The killed man’s family has nothing to do with him being killed in public by callous indifference and overbearing use of a deadly restraint that according to 78 videos was a not uncommon practice for GPD.
As a reminder all Marcus Smart did was ask for help because he was in a bad mental health crisis. Our Mayor is reprehensible and should have pushed thru a settlement and apologies immediately. For shame all murderer apologists.
Please use the King’s English. Apparently your tinfoil hat is still attached.
Marcus Smart is a basketball player for the Boston Celtics. Marcus Smith was restrained using a departmentally approved device that included training after the officers tried to calm him down and accommodate him for a long time while calling for EMS. Marcus Smith had children who should be his legal heirs in NC; if a loss of support occurred they should be entitled to a settlement-not his parents.
The court ruled that the plaintiffs cannot try the case in the court of public opinion. As it should be.
There should not be a settlement first and foremost but if stupidity wins out the state and taxpayers should be first in line to get repaid all the support that was paid out for all the kids he fathered by multiple baby mommas given the fact he never paid any child support