Washington, DC – The DC police chief said he was “embarrassed, disturbed, disheartened, and ashamed” by a viral video that showed police punching an armed suspect on Sunday, and he had already suspended the police powers of three officers (video below).
“We are an agency of more than 3,500 officers, and I assure the community this is not consistent with our training, our tactics, our policies, procedures, nor is it consistent with our agency’s values,” DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Robert Contee told reporters at a press conference on Monday morning.
“This incident will be referred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office today for prosecutorial consideration and subsequent investigation by MPD’s Internal Affairs Division,” Chief Contee announced.
The incident occurred in the afternoon on Aug. 8 in the 1500-block of U Street, SE, when officers from the 7th District observed a drug deal and went to make an arrest near the Ketcham Recreation Center in Anacostia, WUSA reported.
Officers patted down the suspect to check for weapons and found he was carrying a gun in his waistband.
A cell phone video filmed by a bystander showed what happened when the suspect resisted arrest.
It was unclear whether the officers had taken the gun from the suspect before the altercation began or whether they were trying to disarm him in the video.
The video showed three DC police officers attempting to hold the suspect up against a fence, and another officer talking on a radio nearby.
Officers went to put handcuffs on the suspect but he resisted.
A moment later, the cell phone video showed that one of the officers began punching the suspect in the face and head.
The scuffle turned into an all-out brawl between the officers and the suspect.
Bystanders yelled at the officers “why you punching him?” the video showed.
The video showed that when the officer punching the suspect couldn’t reach him anymore, he walked around to the other side of another officer to get a better angle and continue to try to get him to comply.
The officer punched the suspect about 13 times in the video before the other two officers got handcuffs on him.
The suspect did not appear to have any injuries to his face after the ordeal, nor was he bleeding in the cell phone video that quickly went viral.
Chief Contee said that the officers confiscated a gun from the suspect but said it didn’t excuse what had happened, WUSA reported.
“As a result of this encounter, three MPD officers’ police powers have been revoked and those officers have been placed in a non-contact status pending criminal and administrative investigations,” the police chief announced on Aug. 9. “MPD prides itself on treating everyone with respect even when we are recovering guns and taking some of our most violent criminals off the streets.”
“We have a responsibility on the way we treat the community and we didn’t do that,” he added.
Chief Contee didn’t reveal whether firearms charges had been brought against the man that was arrested, The Washington Post reported.
The chief did not release the names of the three officers who are under investigation.
DC police confiscated 55 illegal guns between July 26 and Aug. 2, The Washington Post reported.
Chief Contee said getting guns off the streets would continue to be a priority.
“It will be done constitutionally and respectfully,” he added.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING – Graphic Content and Obscene Language:
— Killmoenews (@Killmoenews1) August 9, 2021