Roseville, MN – The Roseville police chief has come forward to defend his officers after a video of an arrest went viral and sparked a hailstorm of criticism for the way the suspect was handled (video below).
“Force used by law enforcement is never pretty to look at and Roseville police officers use it judiciously when taking someone into custody," Roseville Police Chief Rick Mathwig said in a statement published in a press release by the department on May 30.
"Detailed reports were written by the officers involved in this incident and I previously reviewed them,” He added.
“In the video you saw two officers, one on each side of the male they were taking into custody. You can see the male subject’s right arm is alongside his body and you also see the officer struggling to move the suspect’s arm behind his back in order to apply handcuffs. The male subject uses his strength to defeat this. The other officer struck the upper right arm several times. The report indicates the officer did this in order to obtain compliance from the suspect and effect the arrest,” the chief explained.
“The officer pauses in between the strikes to give the suspect enough time to comply. Sadly, the suspect does not comply until other officers arrived and with enough combined strength to finally overcome the suspect’s active resistance. You do not see any strikes to the head of the suspect because officers were acting in compliance with the Roseville Police Department’s Use of Force policy and training. They give measured responses to the active resistance of the suspect,” the chief said, allowing that the officer’s use of force against the suspect was justified.
The Roseville Police Department said it was releasing details from the police report of the incident that occurred on May 22 in order to give context and clarity to the video circulating on the Internet, KSTP reported.
Police said dispatchers at the Ramsey County Emergency Communication Center received several 911 calls reporting a domestic disturbance in the 600-block of Highway 36.
One of the callers told 911 that a resident had asked her to call to have a male removed, KSTP reported.
Two officers responded to the call, and were advised ahead of arrival that residents at the address had been hostile to police in the past.
The first officer to arrive found the male and female still engaged in a loud argument. When the officer attempted to separate them, the woman hit the man on the side of the head, according to the press release.
When the second officer arrived, they were able to separate the pair, and the man stepped outside with one officer to be questioned. When that officer attempted to place the man in handcuffs, he resisted and ignored police commands.
Both officers attempted to take the man into custody without success. They Tased him but it had little effect, and they tried a chemical agent spray and that was ineffective as well, the press release said.
Officers were finally able to bring the suspect to the ground, but still couldn’t get his arms and hands under control to put handcuffs on him. Officers feared he was reaching for a weapon because he kept going for his waist area, the press release explained.
That’s when the video, which has since gone viral, began. The video showed two officers struggling with a man who was face down on the ground.
“They asked him to get down, he wouldn’t get down,” a woman filming said by way of explanation as the video began.
In the video, the man struggled violently as officer tried to put his hands behind his back to handcuff him.
“He got a spine injury!” the woman yelled at the officers.
“It an attempt to get his hand away from his waist area and gain control of his arms, officers performed several strikes to his shoulder area. The strikes seemed to have minimal effect on the male,” according to the press release.
“Why are you punching him? Why are you punching him? He got a spine injury!” the woman shrieked at the officers in the video.
The suspect had been screaming and grunting unintelligibly in the video up until that point. And then suddenly he began speaking clearly to the officer, the video showed.
“I got a f—king spine injury!” the suspect yelled.
“Well then you should have listened,” one of the officers fired back at him.
The press release said the officers were finally able to gain control of his hands and hold the suspect down until additional officers arrived. Police said that at one point, the suspect looped his fingers around the front of his waistband.
“Are you getting all this?” one woman off-camera asked the other, referring to the struggle.
“There’s no black police officers – that’s crazy,” another woman said.
Both women behind the camera repeatedly told the suspect to shut up times during the altercation, in between screaming at the officers.
“Y’all trying to kill him. Y’all trying to kill him!” one of the women accused the officers as the video ended.
Finally, police arrested the suspect and transported him to the hospital. At that point, he told officers he’d been struggling with mental health issues and that his doctor had wanted to admit him to the hospital earlier that day, according to the press released.
He was released from custody to seek mental health treatment at the hospital, police said.