Who is Officer Burnett? Philly cop sued after he allegedly deleted suspect's video of arrest
Officer Burnett's bodycam captured how he allegedly picked up the suspect's phone and appeared to gain access to the footage of the arrest
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA: A Philadelphia police officer is reportedly facing a lawsuit from a suspect after allegedly deleting a video of his arrest from his phone.
The cop, identified only as Officer Burnett, wrote in a police report how he noticed a pickup truck idling for 10-15 minutes at a gas station back in March this year. When police ran the plates, they found the vehicle belonged to a certain Jacob Giddings, who allegedly had an active warrant for assault out on his name, TMZ reported.
When Officer Burnett asked the suspect to step out of the vehicle, he reportedly "started to resist," and so the cop used force to pull him out. Burnett's bodycam was activated throughout the episode. It showed Giddings apparently recording the incident on his phone from inside his truck.
At some point during the struggle, Giddings lost his phone. After he was taken into custody, the officer allegedly picked up his phone and appeared to gain access to the footage. While he did hit a few commands, it is unclear from the footage what he actually did, according to TMZ.
From the patrol vehicle's backseat, Giddings was heard asking Burnett if the video was still on his phone. The cop responded saying he didn't know, but the suspect believes he deleted the footage.
Officers also found marijuana on Giddings, according to the police report. He was arrested and charged with one count of resisting arrest and one count of drug possession. According to TMZ, the suspect sustained minor cuts to his wrist from the handcuffs and was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Giddings has since hired a lawyer. His attorney Donte Mills told TMZ that his client will be suing the Philadelphia Police Department for excessive force and assault, tampering with evidence, false arrest, and malicious prosecution.
According to Mills, they were able to recover Giddings' arrest video from his iCloud account. Philadelphia PD is yet to respond to the imminent lawsuit.
In April, MEAWW reported how the early release of police bodycam footage proved to be crucial in the shooting death of Ma'Khia Bryant.
The 16-year-old Black girl was fatally shot by an officer outside her home on Tuesday, April 20, sparking a nationwide uproar. But just hours after the incident took place, Columbus Police, in an unprecedented move, released the body camera footage of the fatal shooting.
Michael Woods, Interim Chief of Police, explained that the video showed how the officer was justified in shooting Bryant in order to save the life of another young girl whom she was attacking with a knife. Woods said the department released the footage as quickly as it could in an effort to be transparent with the public.
"It's a tragic day in the city of Columbus. It's a horrible, heartbreaking situation," Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther told reporters at the time. "We felt transparency in sharing this footage, as incomplete as it is at this time. We know based on this footage the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community, he noted.