New video footage of a police officer’s actions during the arrest of a suspect on Friday is raising questions and causing alarm about the amount of force used against the suspect.
According to a local news report on WNEM TV5, the officer initially responded to a call about a person acting erratically at a gas station in Vallejo, CA on Friday afternoon. It is unclear what happened between the officer and the suspect prior to the start of the video, but when the camera does start rolling the officer appears to be on top of the suspect and straddling the individual. The cop then appears to hit the suspect several times and then begins warning onlookers to step back as they apparently began to gather around him as he continued to make the arrest. At one point, the first arresting officer appears to have drawn his gun from its holster while continuing to warn onlookers to step back. Other officers then arrive on the scene and the suspect is eventually taken into custody on charges of resisting arrest and being under the influence.
Witnesses at the scene, including Kareem Walton, told the news station they thought the officer went too far and did not believe he needed to use so much force against an unarmed suspect.
“I saw the video this morning and it was just uncalled for, you know,” Walton said. “They could of took a whole different measure, they didn’t have to jump on him and beat on him.”
The Vallejo Police Department has now opened an investigation into the arrest and said it is reviewing the video and “will take appropriate action” if they determine any laws or procedures were violated by the cop. However, police department spokesman Lt. Jeff Bassett warned anyone from rushing to judgment in the case.
“It’s important that no one make any assumptions without having all the available facts,” said Lt. Bassett, according to a statement to the news station. “Just like anyone else, officers are innocent until proven guilty.”
[image via screengrab]