Ohio man sues police over wrongful imprisonment

Associated Press

A Cincinnati man has sued two local police officers for $100 million after he was wrongfully jailed for two months on felony cocaine charges even though video footage would have shown they had the wrong man.

Maurice Snow, 29, filed the federal civil rights lawsuit against a detective and lieutenant on the Norwood police force Monday, accusing them of recklessly violating his constitutional rights by detaining him without probable cause.

A Norwood police spokesman didn’t immediately return a call for comment Tuesday.

Court records show that Snow, who doesn’t have a serious criminal record, was arrested Oct. 18 and booked on four cocaine charges stemming from an investigation by Norwood police over the summer.

The lawsuit says that Snow was accused of being the drug dealer in surveillance videos that police took of controlled drug buys involving a confidential informant.

Snow was jailed for 52 days on a $25,000 bond before the footage was shown in court and attorneys on both sides agreed Snow couldn’t have been the dealer, according to the lawsuit.

Snow was immediately released and the charges were dropped.

During his time in jail, Snow lost his job at a popular ice cream store, was evicted and fell behind on his child support payments, his attorney, Robert Newman, said Tuesday.

“He’s a good kid,” Newman said. “This was a real setback for him.”

Newman said it’s unclear why Norwood police arrested Snow when their own surveillance footage would have shown he wasn’t involved.

“But if you have the video and you have Maurice Snow in custody, you can certainly put them side by side,” Newman said. “When you’ve got nearly absolute evidence in hand, you can’t just keep it in the drawer.”

Norwood police did not immediately fulfill a records request from The Associated Press for a copy of the video and an office clerk said it would take several days.

Newman said that the differences between Snow, who is of slight build, and the hefty drug dealer in the video were obvious enough that the prosecutor in the case, Mike Peck, agreed to allow Snow to be released immediately and for the charges to be dismissed.

Peck did not return a call for comment Tuesday.

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