GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A Florida man spent 18 days in jail over what he calls a case of mistaken identity. Police shocked him with a Taser and arrested him after they say he put up a fight as they tried to question him about shoplifting at a Gwinnett County Walmart.
Walmart security video given to Channel 2 Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Tony Thomas by Duluth police shows an alleged shoplifter leaving the store, officers moving in and the man resisting.
The man held onto a pole and then allegedly punched an officer. The officer then shocked him with a Taser as a second officer rushed in.
"Put your hands on your back!" the second officer yells.
"What did I do?" the alleged shoplifter said.
Store security would later tell police they had pointed out the wrong man and that Amahagwu was not the shoplifter.
Amahagwu was charged with felony obstruction and spent 10 days in jail without bail until prosecutors realized he wasn't the shoplifter. By the time he walked out of jail, he'd been there for 18 days.
Thomas learned Amahagwu doesn't think he should have been jailed in the first place since he didn't commit the original crime of shoplifting.
He did fight with police, but his attorney said the felony charge of resisting arrest should be tossed since they had the wrong man in the first place.
"It could be anybody, anytime, anywhere," attorney Don Geary said. "I don't see how they prosecute, but that doesn't mean they can't or won't."
Geary pushed to get his client out of jail.
"Why did he fight them?" Thomas asked Geary.
"He has a constitutional right to resist an unlawful arrest. He didn't do anything," Geary said.
Duluth police say it's "unfortunate the wrong guy was identified, but you can't fight with police."
"He could have easily just stopped, talked to the officer. We figure out you're not the suspect, and on you go. But at this point, he turned on the officer," said Ted Sadowski, with the Duluth Police Department.
Walmart corporate headquarters released a statement, saying, "We take issues like this seriously and are looking into what occurred."
Once prosecutors heard the full story in court, they quickly went from asking for no bail to agreeing to a signature bond.
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