Police confiscate cellphone after Friday rapping event - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Police confiscate cellphone after Friday rapping event

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

A Memphis man has accused Memphis Police of confiscating his cellphone to hide evidence after the Oct. 25 Trolley Night sidewalk event involving freestyle rappers on South Main Street.

Some of the spectators at the event say not only did the officers use excessive force, which the department denies, they also accuse the officers of trying to take cellphones which had recorded the incident.

Jeffery Lichtenstein said he has video proof the police acted aggressively Oct. 25 when they broke up the party and arrested two people. He's got the video on his cellphone, but the device is now in the hands of police.

MORE: MPD accused of excessive force in Main St. incident

Lichtenstein now uses a replacement phone to make and receive calls as his old one taken by police during Friday night's incident at a sidewalk rap event. Officers arrested two people, including Lichtenstein, for resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

Police say they were responding to noise complaints.

"After one person had been arrested, several people were filming," he said. "I was one of them and my phone was confiscated by the police while I was arrested."

Lichtenstein said he tossed his cellphone to a stranger for safe keeping.

"The woman who received my phone was gruffly grabbed by the police and told they need to give up the phone or they would go to jail as well," he said.

Police say because Lichtenstein was a prisoner, all of his personal items had to be taken and tagged.   

POlice spokeswoman Sgt. Karen Rudolph said no excessive force was used but Lichtenstein and others accuse the officers of trying to keep spectators from recording their actions.

"Is that the complete video? I don't know," said Police Director Toney Armstrong. "Is that an excerpt from the video? I don't know. If the complaints come forward and provide us with statement that will be something we will review."

"They had asked someone who was filming on her camera to delete her memory card," Lichtenstein said. "She knew her rights and refused."

In the mean time Lichtenstein will have to deal with a new cellphone but no video to support his claim.

"I should not expect my phone back as it was logged as evidence until my case is complete," he said.

It could be weeks before Lichtenstein gets his cellphone back because his case has a hearing in December. He could get it back sooner. In an e-mail to FOX13 News Sgt. Rudolph said Lichtenstein's phone is not being held as evidence.

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