VIDEO: Viral Video Claims Officers Beat Man, Now Bodycam Shows The Truth
Haverford Township, PA – Haverford Township police released bodycam video on Tuesday of officers’ struggling with a drug-addled suspect who tried to take their weapons after a short cell phone video clip of the arrest was posted to social media (video below).
Police said the incident began at about 1:20 p.m. on May 3 when police responded to a call about a man sleeping in the middle of a Kohl’s parking lot on Township Line Road, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The man – later identified as 30-year-old Christopher Ricciuti – was combative and not making sense after officers woke him up.
Haverford Township Police Chief John Viola said Ricciuti told officers that he was homeless and had eaten “some type of seed,” The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Medics arrived on the scene and evaluated the man and left, and then police tried to arrest Ricciuti for public intoxication, KYW reported.
Bodycam video showed Ricciuti resisted arrest and at one point escaped an officer’s grasp and fled with handcuffs dangling from one of his wrists.
The officers attempted to deploy Tasers to stop the suspect but the less-lethal weapons were ineffective, KYW reported.
Police said they caught up with Ricciuti and stopped him before he ran into traffic.
In the bodycam video, the suspect tried to disarm the officers and engaged in a tug-of-war of over a baton with one of them.
A bystander’s cell phone video of the altercation showed only the final moments as the officers were trying to place Ricciuti in custody as he resisted arrest.
The cell phone video showed one of the officers delivering a number of body blows with his baton to the suspect in an effort to get him to comply with commands and roll over so handcuffs could be applied.
Taken totally out of context and filmed from quite a distance, that video set off a firestorm of criticism about the officers’ use-of-force during the arrest.
Ricciuti was arrested and charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, disarming a law enforcement officer and public drunkenness, KYW reported.
He has been released on bail.
Chief Viola said Friday that both officers had been cleared of wrongdoing by the police department, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
One of the officers has been with the Haverford Township Police Department for nine years, and the other officer has been a member of the force for four years.
The chief said the officers’ bodycam videos had been sent to the district attorney’s office for review, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The Delaware County District Attorney’s Office investigated the incident and determined that the officers’ usage of batons and lower-body blows to subdue Ricciuti was appropriate, KYW reported.
Watch the incident unfold in the videos below: