Memphis police are investigating one officer’s conduct after a local news station filmed him kicking an unarmed suspect and hitting him with his nightstick.
According to WATN-TV, a camera crew was out on a story when it captured the unidentified officer’s pursuit and arrest of the suspect.
The suspect, who does not display any weapons during the encounter, can be seen going to the ground after a brief chase, then raising his arm in an apparent defensive gesture. The officer hits him in the right arm with his baton, then kicks the arm.
After arresting the suspect, the officer and a colleague can be seen lifting him by the handcuffs before the officer puts his arm around his neck. Later, the officer shoves the suspect into a patrol car with his foot.
A report filed in connection with the arrest stated that the suspect was arrested for allegedly hitting a woman and his child, and that he fought with officers. However, the footage shows no sign of him resisting arrest after the chase ended. The department subsequently launched an investigation after WATN shared the footage.
Mike Williams, head of the local police union, defended the officer’s actions.
“I don’t think they took it to a point, to me, to where it was excessive because I don’t think anybody had to go to the hospital, anyone was injured,” he said. “You know, I think they deployed the [baton] right because you are allowed to strike people in the fatty parts of the body. But I don’t know if citizens are ready to see that, you know, because they’re like, ‘Oh, wow, they beat him.'”
However, State Rep. G.A. Hardaway (D) said the footage was an obvious display of excessive force that could put both other officers and community members at risk.
“It unravels every bit of goodwill that has been rolled out,” Hardaway said. “Any child that sees that is going to be imprinted with it for lifetime. Any adult is going to be imprinted with it. They’re going to teach their children that this is what the police do.”
Watch WATN’s report, as posted online, below.