16:22 GMT +319 September 2019
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    US Police Release Footage of Viral Arrests, Claim Officers’ Actions ‘Were Acceptable’

    Watch: US Police Release Footage of Viral Arrests, Claim Officers’ Actions ‘Were Acceptable’

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    A video of police officers at Tybee Island, Georgia, arresting three people over the weekend has gone viral, raising concern over the excessive use of force by the officers during the incident.

    The graphic footage was shared Monday on the Tybee Island Police Department Facebook page. According to a police report, a young woman identified as 21-year-old Olivia Simons showed a stolen or fake ID to a bouncer at the Rock House bar and grill in the barrier island and small city near Savannah, Georgia. The bouncer then called over Sgt. T. Leguin and Officer Bryant Sims, who were parked near the bar, for assistance. When Leguin took Simons’ card from the bouncer to check its authenticity, the young woman “snatched” the ID and “immediately fled the scene,” according to the police report. 

    Body camera footage shows Leguin running after Simons, threatening to use a stun gun on her. At one point, Simons trips. According to the police report, the officer did not have any contact with Simons before she fell. The officer then grabs Simons and demands she put her hands behind her back. After she “failed to comply,” he uses his stun gun on her multiple times before handcuffing her.

    At this point in the video, a crowd appears to congregate around Leguin and Simons, who is handcuffed on the ground. One woman, identified as Alecia Adams, is heard yelling at the officers. According to the incident report, Adams “refused to calm down, despite her husband telling her to stop. She continuously voiced her opinions, as loud as she could, using extremely vulgar language.”

    When additional officers arrived at the scene, Adams was arrested, but not before resisting being put into a patrol vehicle and biting an officer several times. An officer used a stun gun on her before she was placed in the police car. She was charged with disorderly conduct, obstruction, public drunkenness and willful obstruction of law enforcement by use of threats or violence and interference. 

    At one point, a man identified as Richard Stutts “grabbed onto [Leguin’s] outer vest carrier,” and told the officer to leave Simons alone using explicit language. Officers decided that Stutts should be arrested for disorderly conduct, according to the police report, but as soon as Sims attempted to grab Stutts, he began hitting the officer. 

    “I then noticed my radio was on the ground and the holster had broken during the altercation, I also realized the hood, and first level of retention, on my firearm had been defeated and was in the open position,” the officer wrote in the police report.

    Eventually, Stutts was also stunned and arrested for simple battery against law enforcement, removal or attempted removal of a weapon from a public official, public drunkenness, disorderly conduct, obstruction, willful obstruction of law enforcement by use of threats or violence and interference with government property, WSAV3 reported.

    On Monday, the Tybee Island Police Department released a statement on Facebook, claiming that they are aware of the viral video circulating on social media. 

    “We understand that the contents of that video are disturbing to some viewers. What’s important to remember, is that the video we’ve seen starts well after the initial incident has begun and lacks context. The Chief of Police has reviewed body camera footage from the officers on scene that night and has determined that the actions taken were acceptable under the circumstances. That footage as well as a copy of the incident report is being provided to our local media outlets. This is an ongoing investigation and additional arrest(s) are likely to follow,” the statement adds.

    Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman also released a statement Monday, saying that the police involved in the incident acted in accordance to policy. 

    “Police chief has reviewed everything and has determined that the officers acted in a way that is consistent with our policy and with their training,” Buelterman said. “What the body cam video shows, which the Facebook video doesn’t, is that one of the individuals came up behind the officers while he was on the ground from behind and in an aggressive manner. You don’t do that. That’s not something that is acceptable.”

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    viral video, Police brutality, force, police, United States
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