Lawsuit claims Newark cops illegally detained teen

A federal civil rights lawsuit claims Newark police officers illegally handcuffed and detained a high school student who made a cell phone video of them

NEWARK - A federal civil rights lawsuit claims Newark police officers illegally handcuffed and detained a high school student who made a cell phone video of them responding to an incident on a New Jersey Transit bus.

The lawsuit was filed yesterday by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Seton Hall Law School Center for Social Justice.

It claims 17-year-old Khaliah Fitchette was unlawfully threatened with criminal charges and that the officers illegally seized her cellphone and deleted the video.

The lawsuit says Fitchette and several classmates were riding a city bus in March 2010 when a man in front of them collapsed. Two officers who responded ordered Fitchette to stop videotaping and detained her when she refused. The suit argues that police violated the student's right to free speech.

A Newark Police Department spokesperson said the department does not comment on matters involving pending litigation.

AP wire services contributed to this report.

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