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Former WSU student sues Pullman PD for false arrest, excessive force

PULLMAN, Wash. - New body camera and surveillance video is shedding some light on a lawsuit filed by a former Washington State University student athlete against the Pullman Police Department.

Former WSU football player Treshon Broughton filed a federal lawsuit Oct. 30 against the department, claiming two of its officers used excessive force to arrest him without cause at Bob's Corner Market near campus in 2017.

The 15-page lawsuit claims someone inside the store called 911 on Feb. 18, 2017, but then told the dispatcher "everything was good" and hung up. The dispatcher called that person back, but they reiterated the issue had been resolved. The documents, filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, say two Pullman Police officers responded to Bob's, even though they were told by dispatch things had calmed down.

Surveillance video shows Broughton and an officer, identified as Shane Emerson in the lawsuit, walking into Bob's. In the body camera video, released from the police department to Whitman County Watch, a website that tracks news out of Whitman County, you can hear the store clerk tell Emerson that Broughton used a fake 20-dollar bill.

"You got I.D. with you, partner?," Emerson asks Broughton in the video.

"Yeah I got I.D.," Broughton responds. "It's probably around here somewhere. You can see whatever."

As Broughton moves to take his items from the counter, Emerson grabs his arm.

"I don't want to get arrested," Broughton exclaims. "I'm showing you my I.D.!"

After a short exchange, Emerson tells Broughton "I don't care about your I.D. right now, put your hands behind your back" and calls for backup.

Body camera and surveillance video shows Emerson and another officer, identified in the lawsuit as Alex Gordon, tackling Broughton to the ground before he has a chance to show them his I.D., which the lawsuit calls "objectively unreasonable and unnecessary." As the officers try to restrain Broughton, Gordon tases him on his back.

Broughton is heard in the body camera video repeatedly asking why he's being arrested. Officers later say they're arresting him for using a fake 20 dollar bill and resisting arrest. Broughton claims in his lawsuit he was arrested without probable cause and that Gordon and Emerson "prepared police reports which intentionally misrepresented events" to support the arrest.

Broughton was cleared of those charges by the state court.

Nine charges are brought in the lawsuit against the police department and officers Gordon and Emerson, including unlawful seizure, false arrest, excessive use of force and assault and battery. Broughton is seeking damages for physical injury, severe pain, emotional distress, loss of freedom and damage to his reputation.

KXLY4 reached out to both Broughton's attorney and the City of Pullman's attorney, as well as the Pullman Police Department, for a comment on the lawsuit, but has not heard back. KXLY is still waiting for its public records request for the body camera and surveillance video as well as investigative documents.

This is a developing story. Stay tuned to KXLY for updates.


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