La’Nisha Hemingway, an 18-year-old high school graduate in South Carolina, has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against three police officers after she was wrongfully detained Bailey Law Firm, the group representing Hemingway, stated in a press release that Hemingway was on her way to meet friends on May 3 when she was pulled over and made to walk at gunpoint in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., WPDE reported.

The law firm stated that the three officers, who were looking for a stolen vehicle, removed Hemingway from the car and “forced her to walk backwards at gunpoint and then handcuffed her.” 

Police later admitted that they stopped the wrong car, Bailey Law Firm added. One of the officers seen in the bodycam footage can be heard saying, “That’s not it.”

In a press conference, attorney Tyler Bailey said police didn’t ask for Hemingway’s license or registration when they pulled her over nor after she was released. Additionally, police didn’t file a report for the incident until days later, Bailey said. Hemingway, who lost her father due to gun violence, is now facing additional trauma, her attorney added.

Hemingway’s uncle, Dr. Aaron Cox, also spoke to reporters, saying he has been in law enforcement for decades and is “very familiar with what should have happened.”

“The police didn’t do stuff right from the beginning,” Cox told WPDE. “People that should have been her protectors, treated her like less than a human.”

Hemingway’s grandmother, Janet, said her granddaughter hasn’t been the same since she was detained.

“All you had to do was run the plate,” she said. “It would’ve told you about her, the car, everything you needed to know you would’ve found out about had you run; they didn’t even know her name at the end of the day- didn’t even ask it.”

Bailey said the family has filed a lawsuit against the City of North Myrtle Beach in addition to officers Michael Pacileo, Kayla Wallace and Dana Crowell. According to the lawsuit, Hemingway was driving a dark gray Dodge Charger at an appropriate speed around 7 p.m. when she was pulled over.

The officers stopped the teen after they received information about a stolen silver Dodge Challenger. According to the complaint, Pacileo flashed his blue lights and sirens negligently, as well as “recklessly pulled his duty vehicle in oncoming traffic” in front of Hemingway’s car. Pacileo then pointed his weapon at Hemingway while demanding her to put her hands out the window, the lawsuit states.

At the same time, Wallace pointed her weapon at the teen and ordered her “to show her hands, face away from her, and walk backward to the sound of her voice,” the lawsuit adds. Wallace, according to the lawsuit, proceeded to detain Hemingway and later uncuffed her when one of the other officers said that was not the car they were looking for. Hemingway’s loved ones are relieved to see her alive, but they’re still outraged by what happened.

“I was thinking, thank God that she is alive and is OK,” Cox said. “But then the more I learned and the more I reflected on it and thought about it, I got angry.”