GREELEY, Colo. — Greeley Police say there's a formal review in progress of an arrest that was captured in a widely-shared video.
In the video, recorded by a citizen, a 50-year-old man is punched in the head and tased by officers.
"I commend the citizen video," said Adam Turk, chief of the Greeley Police Department. "The video that we have are the bodycams on the officers, which show one angle out from the officers. That citizen video is obviously evidence that we’ll use in how we evaluate and determine the appropriateness of what was done on scene there, and that’s important."
On Monday, the department released the bodycam video of that incident.
"We’re in a different era of policing now to where our community expects us to be transparent and communicate in a timely fashion, and we needed to put some context behind why the stop happened, the reason for the arrest and the verbal commands that the officer gave prior to physical altercation occurring," Turk said.
Police said on Jan. 23, an officer responded to the 2400 block of 17th Avenue to investigate a report of suspicious activity. While investigating, the officer pulled the man over in the 1100-block of 17th.
The officer learned Evans Police had probable cause for his arrest on suspicion of felony eluding in a vehicle and obstructing officers.
The man was then told he was under arrest and to place his hands behind his head, but he refused to comply and began resisting arrest, according to police.
During the struggle, officers attempted to use a stun gun on the man, who took hold of an officer's taser while he was placed on the ground, police said.
The man then pulled the stun gun closer to his body while struggling with officers, who were hitting his head and upper back while telling him to drop the stun gun, according to police. Another officer was also hitting the man with his knees.
Eventually, more officers arrived on scene and the man was taken into custody after throwing the taser to the side, police said.
"There's no such thing as a pretty use-of-force video. They're all ugly," Ed Obayashi said.
Obayashi is a deputy sheriff in California who has expertise in use of force practices. He said given the circumstances, he believes the officers' actions were justified.
"It's evident to me that the individual resisted immediately," Obayashi said. "He should have just complied, turned as requested by the officer."
Obayashi watched the bodycam footage, as well as the video captured by a citizen.
"Their sense of safety is on a high alert at this moment, as it should be, because they have knowledge that this individual poses a potential threat to fleeing and also resisting them based on the warrant information," he said.
Obayashi said after the suspect appears to resist, the officers try to control the suspect, and it escalates into a confrontation where eventually the taser is deployed in what's known as a 'drive stun.'
"That is strictly a pain-compliance use-of-force as opposed to a tasing 'dart mode' which immobilizes or neutralizes the entire neuro-muscular system, [which is a] much greater use of force," he said.
According to Greeley Police, the suspect was taken to a hospital for evaluation and booked into the Weld County Jail on the original charges from Evans Police, and new counts of disarming a peace officer and resisting arrest.
One officer was injured in the incident, police said. Turk said both officers involved in the incident are still at work.
Police said a supervisor is reviewing the incident to determine if the officer's actions were reasonable and appropriate, which is standard department procedure.
“Our formal process right now is anytime an officer causes injury to a citizen or through the use of less-lethal weapons, that automatically triggers an internal review, an administrative review outside of any criminal charges," Turk said.
Turk said they haven't ruled out having an external review process yet. He said there is no timeline of when the review will be completed.
"We expedite these as quick as we can, but we want to get it right," he said. "We don’t want to rush something and miss an opportunity, whether that be training or justification, because we need to be able to explain in a transparent way how we reviewed this and are there things that we can do better or was everything done as best as it can. So, we want to look at all angles of this."
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