The Pullman Police Department has released video of the 2017 arrest of a former Washington State University football player who is suing over the incident.
Treshon Broughton, who graduated from WSU last year after two seasons as a cornerback, was arrested inside Bob’s Corner Market on Feb. 18, 2017, in view of more than a dozen other patrons of the convenience store. During the incident, he pulled away from officers and refused to place his hands behind his back as they tried to subdue him with a neck hold and other maneuvers. One officer ultimately fired a Taser into Broughton’s back. Officers and witnesses reported Broughton was drunk during the incident.
Broughton filed a federal lawsuit against the police department last month, alleging the officers used excessive force, violated his due process rights and “intentionally misrepresented events” to support charges of resisting arrest and obstructing law enforcement, which were later dismissed. He was accused of trying to spend a counterfeit $20 bill at the convenience store, but he was never formally charged for that alleged offense and counterfeit money was never recovered.
The video, obtained by The Spokesman-Review through a public records request, includes clips from officers’ body-worn cameras as well as surveillance footage from the store, which is in the same building as Stubblefields, a popular College Hill bar.
The surveillance video has no sound and depicts a mirror image of the store. It shows Broughton and a female friend entering the store at 1:40 a.m. and walking immediately to the checkout counter, where they speak with a cashier.
Broughton and his friend briefly disappear from the video frame before returning to the counter with a bottle of wine and a can of malt liquor. Broughton pays for the items with a debit or credit card. After some conversation with the cashier and a man standing behind them in line, Broughton and his friend appear to leave the store at 1:44 a.m.
Broughton and his friend reappear in the video frame at 1:48 a.m. and interact with the cashier as well as a group of men standing in line with cases of beer. Broughton tries to pay for items with what appears to be cash, but the cashier apparently notices something is wrong with the currency as he places it in the register. He holds up the bill Broughton gave him alongside another bill to point out how they are different. The one Broughton gave him appears slightly darker in color.
The cashier calls over another employee to inspect the money, and Broughton eventually begins to leave the store again. But on his way out, he gets into a verbal altercation with a woman, her boyfriend and others standing in line.
According to written police reports, a store employee called 911 at about 1:54 a.m., but during the call he told a dispatcher that no police response was necessary, after all. Two minutes later, the surveillance video shows, Officer Shane Emerson enteringthe store just as Broughton walks in behind him. Emerson doesn’t appear to notice Broughton until they are both standing at the counter.
From that point on, the officer’s body camera records audio of the encounter. Broughton is speaking with the cashier again, saying he previously left his card at the counter and needs it back.
“You got ID with you, partner?” Emerson says, briefly placing a hand on Broughton’s right arm just above his elbow.
“Yeah, yeah, I’ll take it out,” Broughton replies, still focused on his interaction with the cashier. “I mean, I got ID with me. It’s probably somewhere around here, but.”
“K, I need to see it,” Emerson says.
“Fine, you can see it, whatever,” Broughton says, placing a lighter and a tube of lip balm on the counter. “I don’t care, bro.”
While Broughton moves another item across the counter, Emerson again reaches for his right arm, and Broughton responds by throwing his arm upward while turning to face the officer.
The situation quickly escalates from there, as Broughton situates himself between two portions of the counter. Emerson puts a hand on Broughton’s chest, calls for backup and tells Broughton to put his hands behind his back. Broughton questions why he’s under arrest and offers to get his ID.
“I don’t care about your ID right now,” Emerson responds.
Officer Alex Gordon walks into the store while Emerson grabs Broughton’s right arm. Broughton pulls away. Emerson begins shouting and Gordon hooks an arm around Broughton’s neck. Gordon then strikes Broughton with his knee and the two officers pull Broughton to the ground.
Broughton stands up, with both officers attempting to pin him down. He is thrown to the ground again, landing on top of Emerson, who delivers two “hammer fists” to the side of Broughton’s head. A police intern who has been shadowing Emerson steps in, trying to gain control of Broughton.
Gordon presses his Taser into Broughton’s back while Broughton is on top of Emerson. Broughton screams and his body flattens out. Emerson rolls out from under him. The intern grabs Broughton’s legs as the officers place him in handcuffs.
Shortly after the arrest, Emerson offers to speak with a group of WSU students, including several members of the football team who are questioning why Broughton was arrested. After the students leave the building, Emerson tells them Broughton was uncooperative, though he seems to embellish some of Broughton’s statements.
“So, they told me he tried to use a $20, a fake $20 in there, all right,” Emerson says. “So I needed to detain him. I said, ‘I need to see your ID.’ He said, ‘I’m not giving you shit. I’m not working with you.’ ”
“Then he starts pulling away and trying to run, so we’re trying to get him on the ground, and he was fighting,” he says. “I had enough reason to detain him and he was completely fighting.”
Later, at the police department’s holding facility, Broughton can be seen in body camera footage shoving something into a toilet to flood his cell, telling the officers he will not stop until they gave him toilet paper. Officers remove him from the cell and place him in a restraint chair. He refuses to let a paramedic check on him.
When one officer asks Broughton why he won’t cooperate, Broughton says he had a brother who was shot and killed by police.
“You don’t know what I’ve been through,” Broughton says.
Police never recovered a counterfeit $20 bill. When Emerson asked for it shortly after Broughton’s arrest, the cashier couldn’t explain where it had ended up.
Editor’s note: This story and headline was changed on Nov. 15, 2018 to correct the year Broughton was arrested.
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