CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - A Charlotte man is suing the Pineville Police Department over assault allegations stemming from an arrest on March 31.
The plaintiff, Jameson Hill, claimed, in a lawsuit, that Pineville Police arrested him "without probable cause" and used "excessive force resulting in bodily injury." Hill claimed he was "kneed, kicked, and punched by no less than [six] officers."
"I took a knee to the face while I got a knee on my face," Hill told FOX 46 Charlotte.
This all started when Hill went to throw away trash at Carolina Place Mall.
Hill said he was doing contract work at H&M inside the mall when he went out back to throw away trash.
He says his said his co-workers instructed him where to go but when he arrived, a mall employee questioned why he was there and then told him he was not allowed to use a mall dumpster because he was not a mall employee, but rather, a contract employee for a mall store.
Hill said he was told he would have to take the trash home with him.
Hill said his co-workers had been using that dumpster for several days without any issues. He believed he may have been targeted because he is African-American, while his co-workers were not.
"I get upset at how trivial this sounds because it sounds so dumb," Hill said. "I'm upset because I just wanted to throw away garbage."
Hill argued with a mall employee over the trash situation and mall security was called. Hill said mall security called Pineville Police and he argued with police, too.
"They want you to be a calm, docile individual if you look like me in a stressful situation," Hill said. "All I get is calm down or else-- that doesn't work for me. I don't like that."
The Pineville Police Department's attorney, Scott MacLatchie, said from the evidence he'd seen Hill was excessive with his arguing. MacLatchie said Hill was using extreme language, shouting profanities and even racial slurs at officers and security.
The attorney added that officers were not planning to arrest Hill, but wanted to put him in handcuffs for their safety until they could figure out what to do next, as malls security wanted Hill off the property.
"We have too many officers injured each year where just body language signals a precursor of an imminent attack or someone quickly escalating to physical violence," MacLatchie said.
That's when a struggle ensued. Hill claimed he was assaulted by officers and Pineville Police Department's attorney does not believe that was the case, from the evidence he had seen.
Hill was charged with resulting a public officer a misdemeanor crime.
There were no additional charges.
"It would be my opinion that the officers actually exercised commendable restraint," MacLatchie said.
MacLatchie has filed, on behalf of the Pineville Police Department, an answer to the complaint a demand for a jury trial. The answer to the complaint reads, "Defendant denies each and every allegation."
"I believe what is shown on the body cameras is entirely inconsistent with what's been alleged against the officers," MacLatchie said.
In North Carolina, it is illegal for body camera footage to be released without a court order, even if that footage could exonerate officers or incriminate them.
FOX 46 Charlotte reached out to Carolina Place Mall for comment. A spokesperson said this story is a "police matter" and they would not be commenting. When pressed for answers about their trash policy, the spokesperson hung up the phone.
Hill can't shake the fact that this all started over trash.
"I didn't want to be arrested and that's my only crime not wanting to be arrested," Hill said. "Unjustly."
The lawsuit is pending further proceedings.
Hill's next court date for the misdemeanor charge is Sept. 21.