ROCK HILL, S.C. — The City of Rock Hill still says they find Travis Price "negligent" in his actions despite clearing his criminal charge and publicly apologizing to him after a June arrest that sparked protest and outcry.
Price was arrested alongside his brother, Ricky, after Ricky was pulled over for a traffic violation.
During the counter, both men were forced to the ground by police. Officer Jonathan Moreno was fired from the Rock Hill Police Department and charged with assault as a result of his actions against Travis Price. Both Moreno and the city leaders issued a public apology for the arrest of Travis, whose brother continues to await trial.
During a July press conference, Price's lawyer, Justin Bamberg, called the incident a "textbook case of defamation".
In the document dated Oct. 12, the City of Rock Hill denies multiple claims made on behalf of Price and his lawyer. Among their responses, the city argues the original arrest was "lawful."
To further dispute those claims, in the court documents, David Morrison, the lawyer representing the city said:
"To the extent the Complaint purports to allege a claim or claims against this Defendant for negligence, carelessness, gross negligence, recklessness, willfulness or wantonness, any injuries and damages to Plaintiff were proximately and solely caused by Plaintiff’s own negligent, careless, grossly negligent, reckless, willful and wanton conduct or were contributorily caused by his actions, so that the Plaintiff’s claims should be barred in their entirety or the damages reduced under the doctrine of comparative negligence."
Despite Bamberg's claim that the city defamed his client, the city's attorney writes, "[Travis Price] purposely injected himself into the public eye, was a public figure."
"City of Rock Hill prays that the Complaint be dismissed with prejudice, for the costs of this action and for such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper," Morrison wrote.
See the original lawsuit below:
See the City of Rock Hill's response below:
How did we get here?
In the original press release sent to WCNC Charlotte in June from the Rock Hill Police Department, police said they found a gun and drugs in Ricky Price's car after pulling him for over an alleged illegal turn. After placing Ricky in handcuffs, officers agreed to unlock Ricky's handcuffs so he could give his brother, Travis Price, his jewelry. While unlocking his handcuffs, officers claim Ricky started to resist arrest. Initially, officials tried to say Travis Price refused to comply with orders from officers and made physical contact with them.
Following the initial press release, officials and investigators released multiple bodycam videos from the incident that showed a different story.
After the first video of the incident appeared on Facebook, protesters questioned the police department's use of force against the Black men.
In the videos released by law enforcement, Travis Price was seen speaking with one set of police officers, who originally told him he could step forward to collect his brother's jewelry and belongings. In the footage, Travis was seen complying with the instructions given to him until Officer Jonathan Moreno, who was later fired and arrested for his involvement in the incident, appeared in the video. He seemed unaware of the instructions Travis received from other officers and was later accused by officials of confronting Travis Price and escalating the situation.
Where is Ricky Price?
As of Oct. 15, Ricky Price was released on a $6,000 bond from the York County Detention Center, officials told WCNC Charlotte.
Ricky Price appeared in court back in August and was initially denied bond, after the judge said Price had prior drug charges pending and was out on bond when this June 23 incident occurred.
Ricky Price is facing charges of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, carrying a pistol unlawfully, and resisting arrest. A judge dropped the charge of possession of a firearm by a violent offender in July.
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