The family of a suspect made a serious allegation of police brutality against officers. A police chief who said his officers received death threats after being accused on social media of beating a suspect and throwing him off a bridge in Alabama answered with the best weapon he had: body camera video.
A Facebook post from a family member of the suspect showing his front row of teeth knocked out and suffering from severe injuries.
The post, which has been shared 28,600 times as of early Friday evening, claims officers beat, use a stun gun and pushed a man off a bridge around 10 p.m. The post says the man was taken to a Gadsden hospital and airlifted to UAB Hospital, but next of kin was not notified. Photos of the man in a hospital bed with a bloody mouth were also posted.
“Rainbow city beat him half to death and pushed him off a bridge,” the post said. “The people who are supposed to serve and protect. He’s trying to talk but his whole front row of teeth are knocked out, he had to have his tongue sewed back together and his femur bone is broken he has to have surgery on it.”
The post and photos were taken down from Facebook on Saturday, but a screenshot of it shows the extent of his injuries.
Warning: photos are graphic.
In response to the allegations, the Rainbow City Police Department released shocking body camera footage that shows what really happened to the suspect.
In the video released by Police Chief Jonathon Horton, the suspect is seen suddenly running away from officers and jumping over a barrier, falling roughly 19 feet onto what appear to be rocks.
The video shows the officer shouting at the man, “Let me see your hands. Let me see your hands. He’s crawling. He’s crawling. He’s right there in the bushes.”
The video is from the perspective of the officer who guided other officers with his flashlight from the bridge and not from the officers who were searching for the man below the bridge. Horton said the man took off his pants while attempting to jump into the river. Another officer went below the bridge to find the man. Horton said the man continued to run from police and did not show his hands. An officer used a stun gun on the man, at which point he stopped running.
The officer on the bridge then descends to the scene below. At 3:12 of the video, the man starts screaming about pain in his leg. Shortly after, you can hear the officer informing dispatchers that a Taser has been deployed. He also asked dispatchers to send a medic, according to the video.
Horton strongly refuted claims that officers “beat” the suspect. He argued the only physical contact between the suspect and officers occurred when a Taser was deployed as they attempted to detain him.
“He jumped off the bridge,” Horton added.
Officers also gave aide to the suspect before he was transported to a hospital to treat his injuries.
Article Sources: IJR
Video Credit: AL.Com/Youtube