In a potentially explosive civil rights case involving police brutality, false arrest and violations of the First and Fourth Amendments – all caught on videotape – a former D.C. resident has filed a federal lawsuit against a Metropolitan Transit Police Department officer.
In the six-count federal Complaint now before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, attorneys representing Karissa A. Ronkin assert that “under the color of law” Metro Transit Police Officer, Andy B. Vihn, became enraged and physically assaulted and falsely arrested Ms. Ronkin after she criticized him.
The Complaint details what happened on the night of September 16, 2010. After being told by Officer Vinh that they could not ride the Metro because they had been horsing around, Ms. Ronkin, then 21, reentered the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro entrance with two friends expecting that if they stopped horsing around they would be permitted to ride the Metro. The remainder of the incident is depicted on a video, which has since gone viral on YouTube and other Internet sites.
In the disturbing video, Officer Vihn can be seen blocking Ms. Ronkin at the turnstile, telling her, “This is my station.” Ms. Ronkin then flippantly replies, “Yeah, it's your f- - -ing station,” turns and walks in the direction of the station exit. The video shows Officer Vihn chasing Ronkin, grabbing her around the neck, and forcefully riding her to the ground.
The shocking video shows Ms. Ronkin being compliant and non-resistant; yet, Officer Vihn is clearly shown aggressively restraining Ms. Ronkin, on her stomach, on the station floor, while her sundress is pulled up, exposing her thong panties and buttocks to the public.
For a full three minutes, during which time Ms. Ronkin is clearly not resisting, Officer Vihn repeatedly yells at Ms. Ronkin to “Stop resisting.” “I'm not resisting,” Ms. Ronkin replies, “I don't understand.” Ms. Ronkin claims that during these three minutes, Officer Vihn pressed what she believes to be his erection against her bare leg and buttocks.
Ms. Ronkin's counsel, national civil rights attorney
Devon M. Jacob, of the law firm of Boyle, Autry, & Murphy, commented: “The Constitution guarantees every citizen the right to criticize a police officer and to walk away without being physically assaulted."
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