Man Sues Ohio Cops for Smashing Head Into Windshield

2014 Dashcam Released in Police Brutality Case 2:18

A man suing an Ohio police department alleges an officer violated his rights by slamming his head into a cruiser's windshield with enough force to crack the glass.

The incident, first reported by WKYC, was captured on a police dash cam. The police video shows 32-year-old Lorain resident Pele Smith being pushed down face first on a police cruiser windshield by Officer Zachary Ferenec.

The federal civil rights lawsuit filed last month says Smith received hospital treatment afterward.

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Lorain Police Chief Cel Rivera said there will be an investigation into the 2014 incident and has asked the Lorain County Prosecutor to review the dash cam video for any misconduct.

"I would caution observers to not rush to judgment relative to the actions of the police officers on the scene," said Rivera in press release issued in response to the dashcam video.

Lorain police captain Roger Watkins says that officers believed Smith had swallowed drugs and that he struggled with officers during the arrest. He says the slamming of Smith's head into the windshield was unintentional.

Smith was indicted on charges of tampering with evidence, obstructing official business and resisting arrest. He pleaded guilty and received probation.

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The Lorain Police Department was the subject of a U.S. Department of Justice review in 2012 for allegations of excessive force and sexual abuse, WKYC reported. The report concluded that improvements had been made under the current police chief.

Smith filed a lawsuit for use of excessive force and is seeking unspecified damages, according to WKYC.