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Wrongly arrested Black man said he knew he was going to be falsely accused as police approached him

June 30, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

As Valdosta police approached Antonio Smith, he was terrified and thought he was going to "get pinned for something I didn't do," he told CNN.

"Oh my God, it's one of these days where they are going to probably arrest me, and take me off, and probably won't find me anymore," Smith said he was thinking as officers approached him in that February incident, he told CNN's Chris Cuomo Monday.

Smith, a Black man, is suing the Georgia city of Valdosta and numerous Valdosta Police Department officers for excessive force and for violating his civil rights after he was slammed to the ground as he was wrongly arrested.

Though Smith said he forgave the officers at the time, his attorney Nathaniel Haugabrook told Cuomo that he faults the second officer at the scene for escalating the situation into physical violence.

"The first officer, as the video shows, is having a pretty normal conversation with Mr. Smith," Haugabrook said.

After one officer approached the man, another customer told a separate officer that the man who had been harassing them had walked down the street, Haugabrook said.

The video shows another officer, whose badge was visible in the video and was identified to CNN by Haugabrook as Wheeler, come up behind Smith and put him in a bear hug.

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