A Kansas City teenager who was arrested and detained for three weeks for a crime he didn't commit is suing the Kansas City Police Department and the Board of Police Commissioners in federal court.
Fifteen-year-old Tyree Bell was walking home from summer school on June 8, 2016 when he was stopped by an officer and arrested.
According to the lawsuit, another KCPD officer had wrongly identified him as a suspect who had run from officers a few blocks away.
Although footage from dash cams in the police vehicles showed that Bell was not the fleeing suspect, no one actually looked at the footage for three weeks. Bell was held in the Jackson County Juvenile Detention Center during that time.
After the detective assigned to the case viewed the footage, the charges were dropped and Bell was released.
Bell and his family allege he was wrongfully arrested and detained without probable cause.
Attorney Arthur Benson says applicable law holds that officers must look at readily available evidence before making an arrest. Dash cam footage of the suspect fleeing officers as well as of Bell's arrest was immediately available, according to the suit.
"The arresting officers had access to the exonerating video on the screens in their car as this good kid who had never been in trouble insisted that they had the wrong person," Benson says.
According to the lawsuit, had the officers looked at the footage at the scene, it would have been immediately clear that Bell was not the suspect fleeing officers.
The case further alleges that the violation of Bell's constitutional rights was caused by inadequate training and supervision of the arresting officers by higher ranking police officers, former police chief Darryl Forté and the Board of Police Commissioners.
A spokesperson for the KCPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter and the afternoon newscaster for KCUR 89.3. Connect with her on Twitter @larodrig.