Brundidge chief: Arrest video doesn’t tell story

Published 3:00 am Thursday, July 28, 2016

Brundidge Police Chief Moses Davenport said that a Facebook video showing the arrest of a juvenile in Brundidge Tuesday doesn’t tell the whole story.

“The public needs to see why we were there,” Davenport said. “We didn’t just walk up and start arresting people. That was not the way it was.”

According to Davenport, police received a call that 25 to 30 people were involved at a fight at Shady Lane Trailer Park off of County Road 3320. Two or three were fighting when police arrived at the scene, Davenport said, with about 20 onlookers.

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One of the people involved in the incident, a juvenile, continued to try to fight after officers arrived. Davenport said that prompted the teen’s arrest at the scene. He has been charged with disorderly conduct.

The video, published Tuesday on Facebook and seen by more 22,700 people by Wednesday afternoon, picks up with the juvenile being held on the ground and cuffed by Davenport while Sergeant Charles Beasley yells at bystanders who are coming near the officers.

“Come on down here big boy!” Beasley said in the video. “That goes for all of y’all! Let’s go! Let’s get it started!”

During the exchange between Beasley and the crowd, Beasley points a Taser at two males who are not backing away. The threat of the Taser causes them to back away from the area, despite the fact that the Taser was actually empty, Davenport said.

“They were afraid because they don’t know a Taser only fires one time,” Davenport said. “[Beasley] knew the Taser was empty, but he didn’t know what these people were going to do.”

The video has been shared 431 times and has been seen by nearly 23,000 people. Some of the comments propose that the video shows excess force, but many other comments supported the actions of police.

“It wasn’t excess force,” Davenport said. “We really used restraint. If you saw the video before that, you’d say ‘Well God almighty, what’s going on?’ We use minimum force to apprehend perpetrators or suspects.”

Videos taken before police arrived show a shirtless man involved in a fight with two different juvenile males. One of these juveniles shown is being arrested in the later video. Comments on the video describe the two juveniles as 17-year-old twins that are “throwing hands” with an 18-year-old shirtless man.

Davenport said more arrests are pending for other individuals involved in the incident, but that the magistrate would have to decide what to do about other arrests after watching the video.

The video comes at a tumultuous time for law enforcement, after the fatal shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were caught on camera, leading to protests across the country and two mass shootings of police officers in the aftermath.