Los Angeles, CA – The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) released bodycam video from arrests made downtown when a violent protester in a wheelchair struck an officer (video below).
Cell phone videos of the incident filmed by bystanders were posted to social media immediately after the incident occurred and the community and lawmakers reacted with outrage.
However, those videos did not show what led up to the altercation that went viral, so the police department moved quickly to release footage to quell protests.
“Cellphone video of an incident involving a group of protesters in DTLA, including a man in a wheelchair, has drawn significant attention. Therefore, the LAPD has decided to release bodyworn camera footage, both to address community concerns and conflicting information,” LAPD tweeted.
The incident began at 2:45 p.m. on July 14 when officers stopped to help two women who appeared to be having a mental health crisis near Figueroa Street and Wilshire Boulevard, the Los Angeles Patch reported.
While they were trying to help the women, bodycam video showed that two men got into an altercation nearby.
An officer attempted to defuse that argument between 53-year-old David Dixon and a younger man whom he was yelling at and pushing, the video showed.
But Dixon was not to be deterred and continued threatening the other man, and additional officers quickly intervened to take him into custody.
Police discovered that Dixon had a felony warrant for assault with a deadly weapon, the Los Angeles Patch reported.
As officers were collecting the women’s belongings and getting ready to leave with them and Dixon, a group of anti-police protesters who were marching in the area came around the corner and encountered police incident.
The video showed the protesters, who had no idea what was happening at the scene, began chanting “let them go” and tried to intervene and free Dixon and the women from officers’ custody.
The officers called for backup as protesters surrounded them and began pushing, the video showed.
In the midst of the chaos, one of the protesters suffered a medical incident and police called for an ambulance to transport the man as they backed up protesters to keep the man on the pavement from being further injured.
Bodycam video captured the moment when a protester in a wheelchair – later identified as 33-year-old Joshua Wilson – reached out and smacked a police officer who was trying to hold back the encroaching mob, the Los Angeles Patch reported.
Bodycam video showed Wilson wrestled with officers as they attempted to take him into custody and that protesters tried to intervene and stop police from detaining him.
Wilson fought aggressively and resisted arrest with the assistance of other screaming protesters, the video showed.
Police released the man in the wheelchair after the initial scuffle, but bodycam video showed he rolled up right behind officers who were involved in another altercation and involved himself yet again.
Wilson was knocked from his wheelchair during the altercation that followed and the video showed an officer pulling the chair away from him where he was put into handcuffs on the pavement.
Activists expressed outrage that the wheelchair lost a wheel in the process and complained loudly, the Los Angeles Patch reported.
But LAPD said the wheelchair was designed like that and the wheel was meant to pop off. Nothing was broken.
Wilson was treated by medical personnel at the scene and then transported for booking, according to the Los Angeles Patch.
When officers searched the man’s belongings at Central Division, bodycam captured the moment an officer pulled a loaded handgun out of the Wilson’s backpack.
Police say Wilson is a convicted felon and ineligible to possess firearms.
Police also arrested 30-year-old Mario Chacon after he tried to prevent officers from putting another person in a police vehicle, the Los Angeles Patch reported.
Video showed Chacon, in a Golden State jersey, as he pushed one officer and tried to grab another officer’s baton.
LAPD said officers had to use force to take him into custody, the Los Angeles Patch reported.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Dixon was booked into jail on his felony warrant and remained in custody.
Wilson was charged with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and released on bail Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Patch.
Chacon was charged with battery on a peace officer and released ahead of a scheduled Oct. 16 hearing.
Three LAPD officers and one sergeant were hurt during the melee and received medical treatment for their injuries, the Los Angeles Patch reported.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING – Graphic Violence and Obscene Language: