Newly released surveillance and bodycam video is shedding new light on a lawsuit filed by a former Washington State University football player accusing the Pullman Police Department of using excessive force.
According to KXLY, former WSU football player Treshon Broughton filed a federal complaint against the department in late October, alleging two of its officers used excessive force, violated his due process rights and “intentionally misrepresented events” to arrest him without cause at Bob’s Corner Market in 2017.
Broughton, who graduated last year after two seasons as a cornerback for the Cougars, was accused of trying to pay with a counterfeit $20 bill at the campus convenience store. He was never charged for the alleged offense, however, and no counterfeit bill was ever found.
In his 15-page lawsuit, Broughton claims someone inside the store dialed 911 on Feb. 18, 2017, but then told the dispatcher “everything was good.” A police report obtained by the Spokesman-Review showed it was a store employee who made the call just before 2 a.m. after Broughton got into a brief verbal altercation with a woman and her boyfriend as he left the store. Witnesses reported Broughton was drunk at the time.
Things simmered down, however, and the employee made it clear that police weren’t needed before hanging up, according to the newspaper.
Surveillance video released by the department via an open records request this week shows Broughton enter the store minutes later, walking behind an officer identified in the lawsuit as Shane Emerson. From that point on, the officer’s body camera captures their interaction.
In the video, a store employee is heard telling the officer that Broughton had tried using a fake $20 bill earlier that night.
“You got ID with you, partner?” Emerson asks Broughton in the video, briefly placing his hand on the young man’s arm.
“Yeah, I got ID, I’ll take it out,” Broughton replies, rummaging through his pockets. “It’s probably around here somewhere. You can see whatever.”
“K, I need to see it,” the officer says.
As Broughton places items from his pockets onto the counter, Emerson grabs for his arm yet again, prompting the young man to pull away. That’s when the officer calls for backup and instructs the former football player to place his hands behind his back.
“I don’t want to get arrested,” Broughton shouts. “I’m showing you my ID!”
“I don’t care about your ID right now,” Emerson responds.
Surveillance footage shows Officer Alex Gordon enter the crowded store as she helps Emerson tackle the young man to the ground. Emerson is also seen delivering several blows to the side of Broughton’s head. As they struggle to restrain him, one of the officers pulls out a stun gun and Tasers Broughton in the back before placing him in handcuffs.
In his complaint, Broughton argues he was arrested without probable cause and accuses Emerson and Gordon of preparing police reports that “intentionally misrepresented events” to support false charges of obstructing law enforcement and resisting arrest. He was later cleared of the charges, according to KXLY.
Police body cam video also captured Emerson embellishing details of the incident, claiming Broughton was combative and refused to show his ID.
“Then he starts pulling away and trying to run, so we’re trying to get him on the ground, and he was fighting,” he tells students wondering what prompted the arrest. “I had enough reason to detain him and he was completely fighting.”
According to the Spokesman-Review, police never recovered a counterfeit $20 bill. When Emerson inquired about it after Broughton’s arrest, the store clerk couldn’t seem to find it.
The lawsuit accuses the police department and officers Gordon and Emerson of nine charges, including unlawful seizure, false arrest and battery. Broughton is seeking damages for physical injuries he sustained during the arrest, as well as emotional distress and damage to his reputation.
Watch more in the clips below.