An Ohio police department has been forced to release an extensive explanation into a use-of-force situation after a “half of the story” segment of video drove an already accusatory public to jump to conclusions.
The Wickliffe Police Department released a full body camera video of an incident that took place in February, when a driver wanted by a local sheriff’s office was spotted heading through town.
“While some have claimed this incident was over failing to use a turn signal; that is misleading,” WPD wrote in a statement. “The incident did begin with a traffic stop, but the involved suspect was wanted by the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office on multiple felony warrants for failing to register as a sex offender and violating probation. He also had a suspended driver’s license.”
Despite efforts to pull him over, the driver initially kept going before pulling into an apartment complex parking lot.
Almost immediately, the driver exited his vehicle and walked towards a female officer, despite over two dozen commands to stop and show his hands.
Seemingly incapable of following basic instructions, the suspect then began to walk away, and the officer attempted to take physical control, prompting a second male to come out and investigate.
The female, unable to persuade the man from attempting to enter the residence, draws her issued sidearm and orders the man to the ground.
“The female officer weighs about 120 pounds, while the two males combined likely weigh in excess of 400 pounds.”
Finally, a second officer arrives, ordering the suspect to get on the ground, warning that he will be tased if he doesn’t comply.
Still refusing to follow a lawful and simple order, the suspect was tased one time.
The second male -identified as the suspect’s brother- became very upset as he filmed, demanding that the officers shoot him.
“The officer delivered one shock from the taser to the suspect, not multiple ones as some have claimed,” WPD said. “After the suspect was in custody, he was taken to Lake West Hospital for medical attention, and was treated and released back into police custody on the same date.”
The suspect’s brother was temporarily restrained for his safety, and was released as soon as he calmed down.
Needless to say, cell phone camera footage made it to the public before body camera and dash cam footage did, prompting WPD to release all videos.
“We at the Wickliffe Police Department are aware of a video circulating that shows one of our officers using a taser against a male suspect. The video was taken by a friend or family member of the suspect. The incident occurred in February of this year, but has been widely circulated in the last week or so, likely as a result of the heightened scrutiny of police conduct,” the agency said in a statement posted to Facebook. “We have received numerous FB messages regarding this incident, and; as a result, decided to take the unusual step of releasing the dash and body camera video of the incident, as they are longer than the video clip being circulated, and we believe tell a fuller story of the encounter. We are publishing this to be accountable and transparent.”
The police report that the following day, “the suspect appeared in court and pleaded guilty to obstructing official business and resisting arrest. He was sentenced to 30 days in the Lake County jail on the charges.”
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