Greeley, CO – A Weld County judge ordered the release of bodycam video on Thursday that allegedly showed a Greeley police officer putting a suspect in a chokehold during an arrest (video below).
The incident occurred on June 7 when Greeley police officers responded to the lobby of City Hall for a man who was threatening to burn down a government building located across the street, KDVR reported.
Police said the suspect – 36-year-old Matthew Wilson – also had a warrant for his arrest for vandalism at the time he made the threats of arson at City Center North.
Bodycam video from the incident showed that Wilson was agitated and repeatedly made bizarre statements when officers approached him.
The video showed that Greeley Police Officer Ken Amick told Wilson that he was being taken into custody because he had “made some pretty alarming statements over there.”
When Officer Amick went to search the suspect, Wilson demanded a hug, the video showed.
“You’re not going to touch me dude. You can hug me first, and then you can search me,” Wilson told the officer.
“Hug first?” Officer Amick asked, then proceeded to hug the suspect.
The suspect went on to tell the officer that he should be trying to make him feel better, the video showed.
“Do you think that it’s your job to hurt me?” Wilson asked. “For reals. Shouldn’t you be making me laugh? Shouldn’t you be making me smile?”
Then bodycam video showed Officer Amick turned Wilson around and began to handcuff him.
In the video, a female officer approached and took Wilson’s left arm to assist Officer Amick and the suspect made a nonsensical remark about her touching his butt.
Bodycam video showed that when the officer applied handcuffs to the first of Wilson’s wrists, the suspect began to freak out.
“Don’t force me,” Wilson said in the video and began to struggle.
That’s when Officer Amick put his arm around Wilson’s neck from behind in an effort to control him.
“Take it easy,” another officer told Wilson in the video.
Then he walked over to Officer Amick and the suspect and appeared to help ease Wilson to his knees.
This brief chokehold is why @GreeleyPolice is facing an assault charge. Body cam released to @kdvr shows the challenging of dealing with someone who might be having a mental health episode. #kdvr pic.twitter.com/tzOiWnzIiZ
— Rob Low (@RobLowTV) October 8, 2021
The video showed the officer tried to cajole Wilson into cooperating and walking to the police vehicle under his own steam.
But after Wilson got outside, bodycam video showed he grabbed onto an officer’s hand and wouldn’t let go, causing the officers to take him to his knees again.
Officer Amick was charged on June 28 with second-degree assault by strangulation, KDVR reported.
Colorado lawmakers banned chokeholds after George Floyd died in the custody of the Minneapolis police in 2020.
The Greeley Police Department placed Officer Amick on administrative leave without pay while his criminal case is pending, KCNC reported.
Weld County District Court Judge Vincente Geraldo Vigil initially blocked the release of the bodycam after defense attorneys objected that its release could prejudice the jury pool.
But a coalition of media outlets petitioned for the release of the footage under another new Colorado law enacted after Floyd’s death that requires bodycam video to be made public if a complaint is lodged against an officer, KCNC reported.
On Oct. 7, Vigil ordered the Weld County District Attorney’s Office to release the bodycam of Wilson’s arrest as soon as possible, and suggested that the defense request a change of venue if they had concerns about a prejudiced jury pool.
Officer Amick is scheduled to be arraigned on Oct. 22, KCNC reported.
Watch the incident unfold in the videos below. WARNING – Graphic Content and Obscene Language: