WATCH: Did cop punch handcuffed suspect?
Another day, another accusation against a law enforcement officer in New Jersey. This time it's coming from the city of Newark. Rashon Turner, 25, was being placed under arrest on Tuesday and the claim is he was punched in the head after he was handcuffed. Charges against him include possession of marijuana, obstruction, and several more. Mayor Baraka says the city is investigating.
Check out the video and decide for yourself if any action should be taken against any officer.
I'm disgusted. This Newark Police officer punched this young man in the face AFTER he was handcuffed. pic.twitter.com/NT5rkKBl8j
— zellie (@zellieimani) October 18, 2017
It starts off with police trying to get the suspect to cooperate and put his arms behind his back so they can place him in handcuffs. At the point the recording begins the police were already underway in their efforts to secure him. Keep that in mind. In the first 20 seconds as two officers grapple with this man a female officer is heard telling him to relax 3 times and to stop resisting. At 20 seconds in, they take him down to the sidewalk trying to get him to comply. More police move in and 5 are now on him trying to get handcuffs in place. Then it goes to 7 officers and finally 8. We are more than a minute in. At 1:05 we hear an officer once again tell him to, "Put your hands behind your back!" This is clearly a case of resisting arrest and a dangerous situation. It's not clear at what point their epic struggle to get handcuffs on him ends but at over 2 minutes in is when we finally see them bringing the suspect to his feet.
The controversy? Watch what may or may not have happened at around 2:11. It appears to some that one of the police officers lunges toward the suspect and punches him in the head. To my eyes it isn't so clear. It's a bad angle, and I can't tell if the officer even touched him or barely grazed him. I also can't tell if the officer was trying to punch him or was reaching out to him for some other reason. What's clear is another officer seems to pull that officer back and away. Was it a heated moment? I don't know. But when a suspect has struggled for that long and required 8 cops to get him in handcuffs, I think it's reasonable to at least wonder if the suspect had tried to spit at one of the officers. In fact one of the charges against Turner is "throwing bodily fluids at a law enforcement officer." Could that have been in the form of spitting? Or perhaps there was some other assaultive behavior. I can't make out where the suspect's legs are. Could he have tried to kick an officer? I think anything is possible with this bad angle therefore nothing punitive should be done to this cop. The incident is being looked at by the department's Office of Professional Standards. I certainly hope they see it as I do.
If anything I feel this video showcases an awful lot of restraint on the part of the police. When a suspect is struggling that much even with 8 officers on him and disobeying lawful commands, it would have been reasonable to use force. They didn't.
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