Officer Involved in ACLU Lawsuit was June Officer of the Month
An Alexandria man, represented by the ACLU, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on June 30, 2011.
The Metropolitan Police Officer at the center of an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit was awarded "Officer of the Month" for June in the Second District. Jerome Vorus of Alexandria is suing the District of Columbia and several MPD Officers for violating his rights under the
Constitution of the United States and the law of the District of Columbia.
Vorus was detained July 3, 2010 after he was told to stop taking photos and audio recordings of a traffic stop in Georgetown.
According to the lawsuit, the officers, including Wishnick:
"ordered him to stop taking photographs or making audio recordings, detained him, and informed him that it was illegal for him to take photographs of the police without prior authorization from MPD or to record officers without their consent."
The plaintiff is seeking damages for police misconduct and alleges that his First and Fourth Amendment rights were violated and that he was subject to false arrest and false imprisonment under District law.
According to legal filings Vorus was standing on a public sidewalk taking photos of a traffic stop. When officers asked him for indentification, Vorus asked if he was being detained, he was eventually told he was free to go.
Shortly thereafter additional police cruisers arrived and Officer Wishnick approached Vorus and asked for his identification. He again asked if he was being detained. The court documents indicate that:
"At first, Officer Wishnick didn’t answer; finally, she told him that he was being detained. Mr. Vorus asked why but did not receive a response."
Vorus continued making an audio recording while he was being detained and was told by four different MPD officers that it was illegal to take photos or record officers without their consent. It is not illegal to do so.
D.C. Attorney General, Irvin Nathan, has 20 days to respond to the suit.
Last month, Officer Wishnick received an award for her role in an investigation and bust that yielded six pounds of marijuana, various Schedule IV narcotics, such as valium, drug paraphernalia and $35,000 in U.S. currency.
Upon Receiving her award Wishnick called the incident a “prime example of how the police and the community can work together.”