Senatobia, MS – The Senatobia police chief is defending the officers who arrested 31-year-old Andre Burton last week in a video that sparked outrage in the community (video below).
Senatobia police said the incident occurred after officers responded to a large fight on April 19 at a housing project on Short Avenue, WREG reported.
Senatobia Police Chief Richard Chandler released a video statement on the incident on April 26 that included bodycam video from the officers on the scene.
Bodycam showed officers breaking up a fight in the middle of the street and an outraged woman telling officers that someone had hit her car.
The officers called for additional backup in the video and tried to sort out what was going on.
The video showed that as officers were talking to witnesses, several people ran up and pointed out three men who were fleeing the area.
An officer encountered Burton as he fled the area and ordered him to stop.
He started searching Burton’s pockets and the suspect continued reaching for something in his bulky-looking pocket, the video showed.
Then he scooched down and tried to escape the officer’s hold.
The officer pressed Burton up against the police car and tried to take him into custody.
Bodycam video showed Burton resisted and slammed his head against the hood of the patrol car, according to Chief Chandler.
Officers recovered cocaine dropped on the ground nearby Burton’s feet, the police chief said.
He said that Burton never complained of having been injured during the incident.
Chief Chandler said the officers were justified in using force on Burton.
“This justification was met when Mr. Burton refused to comply and repeatedly reached for his waistband where he had unknown items bulging from his pockets,” he explained.
The police chief said that once Burton stopped resisting, the officers stopped using force.
“This the worst thing I ever experienced in my life,” Burton told WREG.
He claimed he had just been walking home from his mother’s house when officers grabbed him.
“I’m hurt from what they did,” Burton said. “I can’t explain it. I just got pain like why it happen to me.”
He claimed he feared retaliation and said he wanted the officers to be fired, WREG reported.
“Like they wanted to kill me,” Burton said. “They was literally punching me behind my head and elbowing me. They could have hit me in the wrong spot.”
“I could be dead right now, but luckily God graced me and I’m still alive,” he added.
Burton said two other people were arrested with him, including a 14 year old, WREG reported.
Police said Burton was arrested again less than a week later.
He was charged with public drunkenness, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and two counts of drug possession between the two arrests, WREG reported.
Burton said he was planning to hire an attorney and file a lawsuit against the police department.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below: