COLUMBUS – As a result of litigation brought by the ACLU of Ohio, the City of Columbus agreed to pay a settlement amount of $20,000 to Nick Pettit, a Columbus resident arrested in 2019 for filming abuses by a Columbus Police SWAT team that was serving a search warrant on his street. Police roughed up and arrested Mr. Pettit for recording them and calling them out on their mistreatment of his neighbors — which included smacking a teenager on the face.
The ACLU of Ohio argued that the Columbus Police violated Mr. Pettit’s constitutional rights to record and speak to the police.
“This isn’t about the money, but it is about the accountability. To me, it’s an acknowledgment that the police officers involved did wrong, and that’s the start of change for a better future for all of us,” noted Nick Pettit.
“Mr. Pettit had a right to not just observe, but also to record and criticize police mistreatment of his neighbors. He was exercising his rights to speak up for his own community. We hope that this resolution will serve as a reminder to both residents and law enforcement: people may not be abused for using their rights, and neighbors should not be punished for caring for one another,” concluded Elizabeth Bonham, Staff Attorney for the ACLU of Ohio.
The case was originally filed in January 2021.
A copy of the settlement agreement and judgment is below.