Tallahassee, FL – Tallahassee police released bodycam video of an arrest of a hit-and-run suspect after cell phone video posted to social media sparked community outrage because it appeared to show the officer flipping the man he was arresting onto his head (video below).
The incident occurred at about 7:30 p.m. on March 25 on the sidewalk near the intersection of St. Francis Street and Railroad Avenue after a hit-and-run crash occurred nearby, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
Tallahassee police said that officers responded to the scene and witnesses provided videos of the suspect in the hit-and-run – later identified as 27-year-old Dalton McKnight – and his vehicle.
The police report said that as officers were talking to witnesses, McKnight walked by, WCTV reported.
Witnesses pointed him out and positively identified him to the officers as the suspect in the hit-and-run, according to police.
Tallahassee police said officers approached McKnight to take him into custody but he resisted arrest, WCTV reported.
“Upon attempts to detain the suspect, he resisted arrest and physical control was utilized to take him into custody. No injuries were reported,” the police report read.
Tallahassee police officials released bodycam video on Monday that showed witnesses pointing the suspect out to the responding officers.
The video showed officers told McKnight to put his hands behind his back so they could handcuff him and talk to him, but the suspect refused to cooperate and kept pulling away.
“Listen, if you pull away from me one more time, I’m going to take you to the ground and it’s going to hurt,” Tallahassee Police Officer Shawn Wright told him.
“I would just like an explanation,” McKnight whined in the video.
“Here’s your explanation: You’re under arrest,” Officer Wright replied.
“For what?” McKnight asked.
“Leaving the scene of an-“ the officer began to say.
That was when the video showed Officer Wright grabbed the suspect and flipped him upside down in the air and put him down onto his back on the pavement.
The suspect continued to resist arrest after he was taken to the ground and did not appear to have been injured, bodycam video showed.
McKnight had a knife visible in his pants pocket, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
“Bro,” he said to the officer in the video after he was taken down. “Unnecessary.”
“I don’t like it when you pull away from me because I don’t know what you’re doing,” Officer Wright told the man. “Do you understand me?”
Once down, the officer flipped McKnight onto his stomach and handcuffed his hands behind his back, the video showed.
“Does anything on you hurt?” the other officer asked McKnight a few minutes later.
“No,” he said in the video.
McKnight was arrested for leaving the scene of an accident with property damage and resisting an officer without violence, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
He was booked into the Leon County Detention Facility and later released on $250 bail.
Cell phone video of the incident that was immediately posted to social media and sparked outrage in the community.
That video was shot from a different angle, possibly a second-floor window, and appeared to show the officer had dumped McKnight directly on his head on the pavement.
“They just threw him on the floor head first,” shrieked a girl off-camera who was very excited they had captured the incident on video.
“He bumped his noggin,” another girl giggled.
That video sparked calls for an investigation and charges against the officers.
Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell said he had placed Officer Wright on paid administrative leave while an investigation is conducted, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
However, Chief Revell told reporters that the bodycam video he had just released to the public showed McKnight’s head never “hit the concrete ground at all.”
“Anytime I see use of force — we’ve said repeatedly use of force (doesn’t) look pretty — I’m always concerned,” Revell said. “But my concern is simply to make sure that what we are seeing is within policy and procedure and state statute and meets the constitutional requirement of reasonableness.”
The chief said the other officer hadn’t engaged in any use of force and was not subject to discipline, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING – Graphic Content: