Skip to Content

Act of Terror

Act Of Terror Documentary

When police carried out a routine stop-and-search of her boyfriend on the London Underground, Gemma Atkinson filmed the incident. She was detained, handcuffed and threatened with arrest. She launched a legal battle, which ended with the police settling the case in 2010. With the money from the settlement she funded the production of this animated film, which she says shows how her story and highlights police misuse of counterterrorism powers to restrict photography."

Based in the legal environment of the UK, restrictions on filming police have also been an issue in the United States.




He then pulled Smith out of her car by her hair


While she was stuck in traffic in northern Baltimore, Makia Smith glanced out her car window and spied four officers beating up and arresting a young man. She pulled out her camera, opened her car door and stood on the doorsill to film the incident. According to Smith, one of the policemen – Officer Nathan Church – spotted her filming them and ran at her yelling:


‘You want to film something bitch? Film this!’

Frightened, Smith sat back down in her car but Officer Church reached in, grabbed her camera and threw it to the ground, stomping on it for good measure. He then pulled Smith out of her car by her hair and began beating her. Officers William Pilkerton, Jr., Nathan Ulmer and Kenneth Campbell came over and joined in. The quartet arrested her with excessive force. Oh, did I mention that Ms. Smith’s two-year-old daughter was in the back seat?

According to a complaint filed against the officers, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts, and the Baltimore Police Department, the officers taunted her about the child. They told Smith that her daughter would be taken away and sent to Social Services. They refused to call Smith’s mother to pick the toddler up. According to the complaint:

“The officers, despite the pleas of plaintiff, refused to call plaintiff’s mother. Instead, the officers tormented plaintiff by telling her that her daughter would be taken from her and sent to Social Services. Seeing plaintiff’s distressful reaction to these tormenting threats, they continued.”

Presumably this went on as Ms. Smith was arrested and taken to jail where she was charged with assaulting Officer Church and resisting arrest. I assume that the child was picked up by Social Services but the complaint isn’t clear on this. I certainly hope that they didn’t leave her in the car as they dragged her mother away to jail. Then, when the case came to trial, Officer Church skipped both proceedings, forcing prosecutors to drop the charges. However, Ms. Smith had to hire a lawyer and pay to get her car out of impound.

Ms. Smith is now suing for $1.5 million in both compensatory and punitive damages. She claims civil rights violations and infliction of emotional distress.

Read more:

Deputies seized other witnesses' cell phones

Deputies seized other witnesses' cell phones following the fatal beating.

"The true evidence is in those phones witnesses have that apparently the sheriff's deputies already took," brother Christopher Silva told the Californian. "But I know the truth will come out and my brother's voice will be heard."
Criminal defense attorney John Tello, who is representing two of the witnesses who recorded the brutal beating, told the Californian that his clients are "shaken" by what they saw and how they were treated by police.
"When I arrived to the home of one of the witnesses that had video footage, she was with her family sitting down on the couch, surrounded by three deputies," Tello said, claiming that the witness was not allowed access to her cell phone and was prevented from leaving her home. Tello claims he was not permitted to speak privately with the woman with the phone and that he was informed that the recording of the deadly attack was evidence to the investigation.
"This was not a crime scene where evidence was going to be destroyed," Tello told the Californian. "These were concerned citizens who were basically doing a civic duty by preserving the evidence, not destroying it, as they (deputies) tried to make it seem."

Read more:

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Dr. Radut | story