Chesterfield County, VA – Video has gone viral claiming to show an officer dragging a man out of a car for no reason (video below.)
Now the Chesterfield Police Department chief has spoken up to tell people what really happened.
The suspect's girlfriend, Elizabeth Smith, tweeted the video on Tuesday afternoon along with a brief video.
“A cop follows us into my boyfriends driveway and claims it is because we have a brake light out," she tweeted. "The cop calls backup immediately. He proceeds to viciously pull him out of the car for absolutely no reason. I was forced to sit in the car until another cop came and detained me..."
Smith’s boyfriend, 19-year-old Elkanah Odembo, was arrested at the end of the altercation and charged with assault on a law enforcement officer and three counts of obstruction of justice with force, police said in a statement.
Odembo also received a traffic citation for defective equipment for the tail light that had caused the officer to stop his vehicle in the first place.
The Chesterfield police chief, Colonel Jeffrey Katz, responded to Smith’s allegations with a tweet of his own on Wednesday morning.
“Late last night, @conspiracypro tweeted about a traffic stop involving @CCPDVa. As most slept, that post went viral based upon the limited information provided. While an effective tweet, it falls short of telling the entire story. Facts matter. Sincerely appreciate your empathy,” Col. Katz posted.
Police said the stop was made because Odembo’s vehicle had a tail light out, and because the officer had received information that the occupants of the vehicle had been gesturing and yelling things at a school bus, WWBT reported.
Initially, the driver tried to get out of the car after he was stopped, but the officer told him to stay put.
The officer asked for Odembo’s ID, but the driver wasn’t able to locate it, the police statement said.
While the officer was getting the driver’s information to verify, Odembo became uncooperative.
At that point, police said the officer ordered Odembo to get out of the vehicle, and the teenager refused.
Smith’s video began at approximately that point in the incident.
In the video, the officer can be seen standing in the open doorway of the driver’s side of a vehicle telling the driver to step out of the car.
The driver ignored police commands, and argued that he was at his own house.
In the video, the passenger who was filming could be heard asking why the driver needed to get out of the vehicle.
The officer responded that the driver was not being cooperative.
“Which charge are you pressing me against?” Odembo asked.
In the video, the officer tried to remove the driver from the car, while Odembo and his girlfriend yelled at him.
At one point, Smith jumped out of the car as she continued filming, and the officer told her to get back in the car. She complied with his order, the video showed.
The video ended as Odembo exited the vehicle, pushed past the officer, and took off, according to WWBT.
The officer and Odembo engaged in a physical altercation as the driver continued to resist arrest, police said.
As backup arrive, Odembo broke away again and ran into his residence, with police in pursuit.
Police said that eventually, Odembo was tased and taken into custody.
The officer was injured in the altercation, and was transported to the hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries, police said.
Authorities have said they have bodycam video footage from the officer and they were reviewing it, but they have not yet revealed when it will be released to the general public.
You can see the viral video showing only part of the incident below: