Miami, FL

Courtney Clenney: defense attorney says new bodycam footage proves Clenney was abuse victim

Lavinia Thompson

Bodycam footage from April 1 shows social media model Courtney Clenney pleading with police for a restraining order against ex-boyfriend Christian Obumseli, who she allegedly stabbed to death two days later, NBC reports.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office recently released the footage of when Miami police officers responded to the luxury apartment building in April where Clenney and Obumseli had lived for two months, NBC says.

Building management had called to report a domestic dispute, and the responding officers were greeted by a doorman, according to a report by the Daily Mail, which adds that Clenney, visibly shaken and distressed, talked on the phone before she asked the doorman to let her in upon locking herself out.

The doorman in the video, posted in full by the Daily Mail, explains to the police that Obumseli had been lingering in the lobby, and that the doorman had asked Clenney if she wanted him to go up to the apartment. She refused, the doorman said. In the video, Clenney appears frustrated until police let her speak.

In the video, 26-year-old Clenney explains to police that she didn’t take her dogs out “for 8 hours” because she feared Obumseli would be in the lobby when she downstairs. She claimed when she did walk her dogs, he wouldn’t leave her alone, she continues in the video.

“I have not always been a victim ... but right now I am a freakin’ victim. I'm getting kicked out of my own apartment, I'm scared,” Clenney tells police in the footage.

The doorman in the footage went on to explain that Obumseli had approached Clenney when she got on the elevator, back from walking her dogs, held out her hands to stop him, after which Obumseli accused her of shoving him.

“Her boyfriend comes charging at her ... the boyfriend came after her, and then I said enough is enough, the police need to be called,” the doorman told officers in the video.

When the officer asks her if there was any physical violence that made her afraid of him, she replies “yes” but that it wasn’t her concern at the moment, according to the video. Clenney further explains in the video that her mother had stayed with her for a week when she and Obumseli broke up, and that her mother found him staying in Clenney’s elevator room.
Courtney Clenney and Christian ObumseliNBC via Obumseli's Instagram

When Clenney requests a restraining order in the footage, the officer informs her she needs to go to court to obtain one, while she had her father, who she called her attorney, on the phone.

Police escorted Clenney back to her apartment and looked around for Obumseli, but didn’t find him, the Daily Mail says.

Clenney asks how she can keep herself safe “now” before she obtains the restraining order, though she appears to get few answers as the police explained that since Obumseli still technically lived there, he wasn’t illegally trespassing, the Daily Mail says.

On April 3, police responded to the luxury high-rise apartment the couple shared to find 27-year-old Obumseli suffering from a stab wound, and rushed him to the trauma center of Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he died, Oxygen reported after Clenney was arrested in Hawaii in August.

Clenney claimed she stabbed Obumseli in self-defense when he pinned her to the wall by her neck, saying she went to the kitchen, grabbed the knife, and threw it at him from ten feet away, CBS reported previously, though the autopsy revealed the stab wounds were inflicted by a downward thrust of a knife, not a throw.

She has been charged with second-degree murder, NBC reports. Frank Pietro, one of Clenney’s attorneys, released a statement which said the bodycam footage reveals that his client was, in fact, the victim, not the other way around, NBC says.

“It appears that the responding officers could have handled Courtney’s appeals for assistance with more sensitivity and an understanding that many victims of domestic violence are hesitant to come forward and have the police arrest their abuser,” Pietro said, according to NBC.

He added, NBC notes, that the video made it appear “that her former boyfriend’s violent behavior toward her was well known by her building’s security. On the video, she clearly asks for help in getting a restraining order and claims she is being stalked.”

Prosecutors have called the relationship “tempestuous” and “combative”, but claim Obumseli was the domestic violence victim, NBC says.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle showed a video shortly after Clenney’s arrest of the couple in an elevator engaged in a violent argument, NBC reports.

Rundle claims that “it certainly appears that the defendant was aggressively attacking Christian,” NBC says.

Clenney is being held in a Miami-Dade prison without bond as her trial is ongoing.

More on this case here.

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Long time true crime lover and blogger who has spent years reading and studying criminal psychology. I also write mystery fiction books, and have a diploma in journalism.


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