Black man needs five surgeries after cops accidentally break his face over small amount of weed
The Hampton Police Division wants everyone to know they’re very sorry about accidents and keen on transparency, which is why they released dascham video of a man falling on his face during a search with 20 seconds of disclaimer text that says just that.
It took them two months to release the video.
Andre Lloyd Wiggins, a 59-year-old Army veteran, was pulled over by Hampton, Virginia police on May 14. The video shows him leaned against a van as officers search it. One officer is holding Wiggins’ foot in an attempt to remove his boot. Wiggins, who is handcuffed, can then be seen losing his balance and toppling over.
“[The officer] was shaking his head and he was apologizing to me,” his wife told local news outlet WAVY. “He said he was so sorry about what had happened and he told me that there was a tape recording of the incident, and he also told me that I could get a copy.”
As a result of hitting the ground full force, face first, Wiggins broke his jaw, lost four teeth and nearly bit off his tongue, local WAVY reports. He has had multiple surgeries and can’t speak.
He was not charged with any crime.
His family held a press conference Monday, where his wife, Linda Wiggins, told reporters the city had denied her request to view the video. According to WAVY, police released the video Monday afternoon.
It was buffered by a message that read:
At the Hampton Police Division, we deeply value our relationship with the citizens we serve. Transparency and open communication is always our top priority… We wanted you to know we take injuries and accidents very seriously, and a full internal investigation is currently being conducted.
Police told reporters the van Wiggins was riding in was stopped at 12:30 a.m. because officers knew the person driving had a suspended license. Because it happened in a “high-crime area” and the time of night, they swept the car with a K-9. When the dog smelled drugs, the three passengers were taken out of the car.
A small amount of marijuana was found in the seat Wiggins was sitting in, which was why he was detained and searched, WAVY reports.
“Officers immediately called for medics and began rendering first aid,” the statement reads.
The video cuts off before aid arrives.
The Wiggins family has retained an attorney but said Monday they weren’t yet sure whether they would sue.
The driver of the van was arrested for falsely identifying himself to police, driving without a license as a “habitual offender” and a warrant. He is still in custody, WAVY reports.