19-year-old Tayvin Galanakis posted video of his traffic stop, along with his mocking commentary on the officers who falsely arrested him, and it went viral, amassing millions of views on YouTube. The two officers, Nathan Winters and Lt. Christopher Wing, are now suing Galankis.
The lawsuit, which appears to be retaliation for Galankis' own against Iowa's Newton Police Department, has already been mostly dismissed by a judge, Stephen Locher, but two claims were allowed to proceed: one that Galankis libeled Winters by falsely describing a protective order filed against Winters by his girlfriend as a conviction for domestic abuse, and another for invading their privacy.
The only counts Locher has not dismissed are defamation and invasion of privacy against the officers related to Galanakis' claim that Winters had been convicted of domestic abuse. "Nathan Winter of the Newton Police Department convicted of domestic abuse after beating up his ex girlfriend," Galanakis wrote in one caption. A subsequent caption stated that Winters had "beat the shit out of" his girlfriend. Though Winters had a protective order filed against him, the counterclaim states that he has not been charged or convicted of domestic abuse. Locher agreed that on this basis claims of defamation and false-light invasion of privacy for both Winter and Wing (because of the implication that Wing did nothing to discipline Winters) can proceed.
As ridiculous as the cops' lawsuit is, I can understand why the a court might at least entertain the libel claim, though I think Locher is playing games given that he recognized every other thing said as blatantly hyperbolic teen trash talk except one thing that he poses as a solemn statement of fact. But to let the invasion of privacy claim proceed seems, to borrow a legal term, to be asking for it.