Rock Hill, SC – A mob of about 100 rioters threw objects at officers and lit a fire around a tree outside the Rock Hill Police Department (RHPD) on Wednesday night in protest of the arrests of two brothers who assaulted police outside a gas station hours earlier (video below).
The RHPD’s Violent Crimes Unit and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) were conducting operations targeting narcotics dealers and violent offenders on Wednesday when they spotted “known offender” Roderick “Ricky” Price driving down Dave Lyle Boulevard in a black 2017 Ford Mustang, the police department said in a press release later that night.
According to police, Roderick Price “made an illegal turn and changes lanes unlawfully,” resulting in officers initiating a traffic stop.
The suspect pulled into a gas station located at 329 Willowbrook Avenue and started “moving about the vehicle” outside the view of the officers, the RHPD said.
When officers made contact with him, he was already on the phone with his brother, Travis Price, telling him he’d been pulled over, according to police.
“Based on prior interactions with [Roderick] Price, Officers called for K-9 to conduct a vehicle sniff,” the RHPD said. “K-9 alerted to the presence of illegal narcotics in the vehicle.”
Officers asked Roderick Price to get out of the car while they conducted a vehicle search.
The search allegedly turned up two bags of marijuana, which were found hidden in the panel of the driver’s side door.
Police also located a 9mm handgun in the back seat of the car.
Officers handcuffed Roderick Price and were searching him when Travis Price arrived at the scene, according to police.
“Travis Price attempted to gather the belongings Officers were removing from Ricky’s person and was told to move back,” the RHPD said. “Travis then used his body to bump the Officers backward as he continued trying to get near his brother to reach for the belongings while yelling belligerently.”
Officers forced Travis Price away and told him he was being arrested for physically contacting officers and interfering, at which point he allegedly went on the fight.
“Travis shoved Officers, refusing to comply with orders to place his hands behind his back,” according to the press release.
He was shoved up against a large tank during the ensuing brawl, but “continued his non-compliance” and started fighting with police, who ultimately went to the ground with him, the RHPD said.
Meanwhile, additional officers were collecting Roderick Price’s jewelry from him after he asked for it to be given to someone else who was at the scene instead of bringing it with him to jail.
“Officers were attempting to facilitate his request and removed Ricky’s handcuffs to collect more jewelry,” the RHPD noted.
That’s when Roderick Price also went on the fight, throwing multiple punches and trying to escape, police said.
One officer suffered a blow to the face during the attack, according to the press release.
A police K9 was deployed during the melee to help “gain compliance” while the handler maintained control of it, but Roderick Price continued to fight.
Police ultimately wound up on the ground with him, too.
“At no time was the police K-9 used to bite Travis or Ricky,” the police department noted. “Officers did not deploy any weapons or use Tasers on Travis or Ricky.”
“As Officers were on the ground with Ricky, one Officer delivered several punches to Ricky’s upper thigh on the Common Peroneal Nerve to gain compliance,” the RHPD said. “The strikes had no effect and Ricky continued to resist. The officer then punched again, striking Ricky in the nose which caused him to bleed.”
Dozens in Rock Hill immediately took to the streets in response to controversial bystander video of Rock Hill officers/Homeland security arresting two men earlier today.
The local NAACP President:
“After viewing the video I was apalled and quite frankly a little bit shocked.” pic.twitter.com/go4eoCKKyJ
— DaShawn Brown (@DaShawnWSOC9) June 24, 2021
Use-of-force instructor Lee Ratliff, a former law enforcement officer, told WSOC that the officer used his pain-compliance training while trying to take the violent suspect into custody.
“Don’t get me wrong. It does look bad, but the reality of it is, that’s part of the training,” Ratliff explained. “What he’s trying to do is what we call ‘pain compliance’ by striking him with his hand in the leg or the major muscle groups. In that moment, he’s trying to get pain compliance.”
Police were then able to take both brothers into custody and rendered medical aid to them before Roderick Price was transported to the police department to meet up with emergency medical personnel, according to the press release.
He was subsequently transported to Piedmont Medical Center for treatment.
But when he was removed from the vehicle at the hospital, police allegedly found a Crown Royal bag containing crack-cocaine lying on the seat where he’d been riding.
Roderick Price was subsequently charged with resisting arrest, unlawful possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a violent offense, carrying a pistol unlawfully, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, according to police.
Travis Price was transported to the Rock Hill City Jail on a charge of hindering police.
The RHPD said an internal review of the brothers’ arrests is already underway.
The mob of rioters descended on the police department at about 11 p.m. on Wednesday night after a video clip showing a portion of the Price brothers’ arrests began circulating online, WSOC reported.
They blocked the intersection of Black Street and Dave Lyle Boulevard for several hours prior to their march to the RHPD, then proceeded to light a fire around a tree outside the police station, according to the news outlet.
— Hunter Sáenz (@Hunt_Saenz) June 24, 2021
When an officer and firefighters moved in to extinguish the blaze, the rioters began hurling objects at the officer, WSOC reported.
Police in riot gear swooped in a moment later.
— Skyflyer Channel 8 News (@skyflyer81) June 24, 2021
Rock Hill National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) President Norma Gray declared the officers used excessive force during the arrest, WSOC reported.
“What I saw was not in compliance with what I know that their training is,” Gray asserted. “I want to see what happened because the angle of the viral video only gives one perspective.”
Gray claimed the “young man” she watched in the video had been in “total compliance” prior to the brawl, WJZY reported.
“And in 2.5 seconds [he was] lying on the ground with his face bloody,” she alleged, adding that she is a “absolutely appalled.”
The suspects’ mother told WJZY she’s “just so upset” that police could “do this brutality” to her adult children.
“He just was just kickin’ my son and then he was hittin’ him and then my other son, he just came and asked what happened – what was going on – and then the police start fighting him,” she lamented. “I just don’t understand.”
Gray said people need to stand up for the Price brothers.
“When you see injustice…injustice is injustice and that was blatant injustice, and so I immediately stepped into my NAACP role and definitely had to stand up for this young man,” she told WJZY.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content and Obscene Language:
— Anti-Fascist Abolitionist AWK (@AWKWORDrap) June 24, 2021