Lawsuit filed against City of Charleston, police department in officer assault captured on video
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A lawsuit has been filed against the City of Charleston and its police department in connection to an officer assaulting a handcuffed man that was captured on bodycam video.
Lawyers representing Rashad Robinson also named Police Chief Luther Reynolds and former police officer Kevin Schlieben, who was originally charged in the 2019 incident, in the lawsuit.
Robinson is suing the defendants on several counts including malicious prosecution, abuse of process, assault and battery, illegal search and seizure due process violations, and cruel and unusual punishment.
The lawsuit states that their client was chased by officers, and after he was detained a police officer assaulted him which was captured on video.
Robinson’s lawyers said the incident came to light after a racial bias auditor discovered the footage. Police said it was a CPD civilian employee who discovered the footage during an internal review.
On July 2, 2019, Charleston police officials reported that Robinson was arrested after he struggled with two officers who were injured in the incident. Reynolds said one of the officer’s body cameras showed Schlieben hitting Robinson.
A warrant stated officers got into a foot chase with Robinson after getting reports of someone tugging on door handles of cars in the area of East Bay and East Elliot Street.
The lawsuit states that Robinson was on his way to work when officers attempted to question him. Lawyers said their client was under no obligation to talk to the officers and invoked his 5th amendment right to not speak to the officers.
The suit states the situation “devolved” into an all-out pursuit with the incident ending with Robinson’s arrest and assault by several police officers including Schlieben, who was captured on body cam video “violently” striking Robinson in the head and telling him to “Shut the (expletive) up!”
Lawyers said Robinson received medical treatment for his injuries at MUSC and the Charleston County Jail. Robinson’s lawyers also say that police reports and supplemental reports on the incident did not mention the assault on their client, and that the assault was discovered by a civilian employee who was hired to perform a racial bias audit.
Schlieben was originally suspended, charged with third-degree assault and battery and demoted to a civilian position. A judge dismissed the assault charge just before the trial was about to begin.
In November of 2020, Schlieben was put on probation for a year and ordered to undergo de-escalation training, State Law Enforcement Division officials said.
CPD officials said Schlieben is no longer employed at their department.
Robinson has been arrested at least 31 times since 2010. According to SLED records, Robinson was arrested again in September of 2019 for a misdemeanor charge of damage to property.
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