Thomas Donovan, who is majoring in legal studies, was arrested on March 8 after police noticed he was filming a separate arrest during an annual St. Patrick’s Day “Blarney Blowout” event.
Donovan took out his phone to record the arrest after noting the officer appeared to be using excessive force.
The officer, whom the courts have identified as Andrew Hulse, approached Donovan to stop him from filming. Donovan requested the officer’s information, but Hulse refused to give it.
A second officer, Jesus Arocho, knocked the phone out of his hand and threw Donovan to the ground.
“Arocho, assisted by Defendant Andrew Hulse, placed Mr. Donovan under arrest. Meanwhile, Mr. Donovan’s phone, which had landed on the ground with the camera facing up, continued to film. It captured the actions of another police officer, Defendant John Doe 3, who walked over to the phone, stood over it, then stomped on it with his boot, several times, in an unsuccessful effort to destroy it.” the lawsuit states.
Officer Arocho arrested Donovan for “disorderly conduct” and for “riot, failure to disperse.” The charges were later dropped.
Donovan’s attorney David Milton explained that recording the police’s actions were part of Donovan’s First Amendment rights.
"I have the utmost respect for police officers who conduct themselves with integrity, but officers who blatantly disregard the law and are willing to arrest innocent civilians to cover up their own misconduct must be held accountable," Donovan, now a college senior, said in a statement.
His lawsuit seeks monetary damages.
The school suspended Donovan after his arrest, but reversed the action after conducting an investigation, according to the suit.