A police report said the officer was defending himself, but the video shows there was no threat from the victim.
A police officer in Washington D.C is facing questions after shoving a man and using a Taser during an incident at the U Street station on Saturday. According to The Washington Post, The Metro Transit Police Department opened an internal investigation into the matter after the video showing excessive use of force went viral.
The video shows the unidentified police officer questioning a young black male who was in handcuffs in the U St. Metro Station in Northwest Washington. As another bystander starts speaking with one of the officers, another one walks up to him and grabs him. In moments, he shoves the man, draws his Taser and fires after a bit of struggle.
“According to the officer’s statement, the subject took an aggressive stance with a balled fist and began to approach the officer appearing to be readying for a fight,” Metro spokesman Ron Holzer told the Post in an email.
However, the blatantly apparent police brutality in the video resonated with people on social media who shared the clip - which clearly refutes the officer's statement.
Videos posted online do not appear to show the man either balling his fist or assaulting the officer.
MTPD has opened an internal investigation into an arrest at U Street Station yesterday evening that involved an officer using force. We take use-of-force matters seriously, and we are committed to fostering the public's trust in us. Below is our full statement. #wmata pic.twitter.com/O3bgtcpmhw— Metro Transit Police (@MetroTransitPD) June 23, 2019
“It felt really gratuitous, even at the time,” said Kegan Queen to The Post, who captured video at the scene with his phone. “The man was obviously not hurting anyone. It felt really extreme.” Police on Sunday refused to identify either the officer or the man who was arrested.
Look at our tax $$ being wasted. Around 8:30pm last night in #DC's L'Enfant Plaza #metro, a dozen armed #officers, some w/ assault #rifles detained 2 #Black teens & scoured train tracks for God-knows-what. 🙄😑 pic.twitter.com/KSr6xR3v3H— RikoAmour, msw, mph, soon to be phd (@rikoamour) June 18, 2019
“MTPD opened the investigation today, and it will review all available facts and evidence, including witness statements and videos posted on social media,” Holzer said. “Because the investigation is active, we are unable to offer additional comment at this time.”
The woman, who filmed the video, could be heard saying she wanted to make sure the young person who was handcuffed was okay. She was reportedly talking to some of the suspect’s friends, who were suspected of “threatening riders on the platform with sticks.”
But Che’mere Jones’ attention quickly moved from the young person to the bystander.
“I was scared, I was ashamed and I was frustrated,” Jones told local news outlet WTOP. “There were seven officers around him and more coming down the escalator.”
She said the narrative that the cop feared for his life was false and that the officer involved was part of a larger problem within the city’s police department.