In disturbing video out of Virginia, Portsmouth police officers threatened to evict residents who had gathered around to watch and record them making an arrest of a man they had apparently beaten with batons.
But that’s only the video that survived.
The woman who recorded the video said that police deleted another video that had recorded the beating.
“It was this commotion because he was on top of the man punching him, punching him and the other one was beating him and after they beat him they tased him and they maced him so they did all this while he was handcuffed,” Tiara Bailey, 27, told WNCT.
The video that they did not delete shows a gathering crowd complaining about the man’s bloodied condition while an unidentified officer starts ordering them to back up.
“Shut up or you’ll be evicted,” the cop tells one person who had gathered in a grassy area of the London Oaks Apartments, protesting the violent arrest.
“You can’t evict nobody cause you just sat up there and beat the shit out of somebody,” says Bailey.
“Shut up or you’ll be evicted,” the cop responds, pointing his baton at her.
Unable to contain his anger, the officer yells, “Leave now!”
But Bailey tells him, “we live here.”
Still not done, the officer states, “I will get your address and get you evicted,” while accusing her of being “disorderly”.
Other officers arrive and attend to the arrested man while another officer extends his baton in a threatening manner used, ordering everybody away.
“Everyone out here needs to disperse, get the fuck back in your apartment. Go! This is an unlawful assembly,” the second cop says.
It is a well-established First Amendment right to record police and public officials in the course of their duties. Citizens also have a well-established right to assemble and protest.
Police say the handcuffed man was Marquis D. Granger, who was was arrested on two outstanding warrants. They also say he was charged with two counts of assault on a law enforcement officer as well as attempting to disarm an officer, providing false information to an officer to evade arrest, obstructing, resisting and trespassing.
But witnesses say they pulled him out of a car and started beating him.
Portsmouth Police Chief Tonya Chapman said the officers were wearing body cams, which should settle the discrepancy in what actually happened.
… the encounter depicted in the video in which officers did not respect the basic First Amendment rights of innocent bystanders to peacefully assemble and to record officers without disturbing police procedures.
Officers using foul, offensive and aggressive language towards innocent bystanders while threatening to have them evicted from their homes is disturbing, unprofessional and potentially abusive behavior which should not be tolerated.
The NAACP also called for the officers to be placed on administrative leave while they are investigated for the arrest and the ensuing threats.
Police Chief Tonya Chapman responded to WNCT Portsmouth Police Department Professional Standards Unit will be conducting an administrative investigation into this video, but would not elaborate of the status of the officers seen on the video.
In an attempt to protect the officers, WNCT blurred the faces of the officers in its news report. We did not blur their faces in the video below.