HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The Huntsville Police Department is firing back at a viral video of their officers making an arrest. The woman who posted the clip says it captures police brutality, but department officials slammed that claim.
They say the footage, seen by thousands, shows only a small part of a long struggle to get someone into custody.
Viewers have shared the video with WAFF 48 dozens of times since it was posted in the overnight hours Sunday morning. The 43-second clip was recorded from a car and shows a man being restrained by two Huntsville police officers on a street. One of the officers appears to strike the man several times as they try to get his arms behind his back.
Capt. JesHenry Malone, HPD's West Precinct commander, said the struggle actually lasted more than four minutes as officers tried to handcuff the man being arrested for public intoxication at the scene of an accident.
"We had officers to encounter a subject that they believed was intoxicated. After their initial investigation, their confirmations were made. They attempted to arrest this gentleman and at the point of arrest, he began actively resisting. Once he began actively resisting, the officers applied the necessary force they felt was needed in order to affect the arrest and that arrest was eventually affected," Malone said Monday at HPD headquarters.
The original video has been shared and watched more than 13,000 times. The incident happened late Saturday night near Topgolf at the old Madison Square Mall site.
The woman who posted the video, Heaven Cordule, said she was leaving the movies with several other people when they spotted what was happening as they drove past. They turned around and started recording as they went by again, concerned about what they were seeing. She then put the video on her Facebook page, writing: "Huntsville Police Department, Police Brutality caught on camera."
In a follow up post, Cordule stated: "Just to put it out there, I am NOT anti Police, However, I am against abuse of authority and injustice."
Cordule did not expect her video to go viral and added that she has questions about whether that kind of force was necessary.
HPD stated that during the struggle, the man was taken to the ground where officers told him more than 31 times that he was under arrest and to put his hands behind his back. As trained, the officer stuck the man in large muscle areas in an effort to him to release the officer's hand.
The entire incident was captured on both in-car cameras and by officers' body cameras, although both body cameras were ripped from their uniforms during the struggle.
"What you saw and what officers saw on the scene and dealt with are two totally different things. An investigation will get to the end of that. What we are dealing with now is extended periods of video that we have yet to evaluate and the officers did what they felt was necessary to make that arrest," Malone said.
According to police, there were no injures and the suspect has been interviewed and is cooperating, however, he asked that his name not be released.
Because it is an active case, the police body and dash cam videos can't be released.
"The Internal Affairs Division of the Huntsville Police Department reviewed the incident and found the officers acted within policy," HPD stated in a news release Monday.
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