South Carolina teen says officers wrongfully held her at gunpoint during traffic stop: Lawsuit

WTVD logo
Thursday, June 20, 2024

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WTVD) -- A South Carolina teenager filed a lawsuit against the North Myrle Beach Police Department after she said multiple officers allegedly pulled her over and pointed guns at her.

La'Nisha Hemingway, 18, and her family announced the federal civil rights lawsuit on Tuesday.

Hemingway's attorneys shared body-cam video from the incident that happened May 3, showing who the lawsuit identified as officers Kayla Wallace and Michael Pacielo putting handcuffs on the then North Myrtle Beach high schooler.

According to the lawsuit, Hemingway was pulled over on Highway 17 South in a Dodge Charger while going to meet friends for a graduation celebration. Documents obtained by WMBF said she was driving at an appropriate speed before her vehicle was picked up by a license plate reader.

The police department responded that the officers thought Hemingway had been driving a stolen car. The documents state that shortly after Hemingway was detained, officers reportedly realized they had pulled over the wrong car. The lawsuit also said evidence on body camera video bears that out.

WMBF reported that about three minutes of footage from Wallace's bodycam was released and she notably says the car "isn't it" just before getting out and drawing her weapon.

Hemingway's family said the teen is still shaken by the incident and has not been the same since it happened.

"She's not the same anymore," her grandmother Janet told WMBF. "She's quiet. She's off to herself. She's distant. I want something done to protect our children. We're not protecting our children. You don't treat a young child this way."