TUSCALOOSA POLICE RELEASE BODY CAMERA FOOTAGE AFTER VIOLENT ARREST
Days after a pair of police officers were caught on camera threatening and attacking a woman who had been pulled over, Tuscaloosa Police today released body camera footage of the incident.
At a news conference this morning, Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steve Anderson said police originally responded to a complaint on April 19 around 6:40 p.m. on a call alleging the woman involved in the arrest left the scene of a wreck on Old Greensboro Road and Old Plantation Road.
About 25 minutes later, officers found the woman and her car on East McFarland Boulevard and initiated a traffic stop.
The body camera footage begins right after the stop.
“The video that you are about to see is gonna be offensive to many,” Anderson said at the conference. “The language and conduct that you will hear are offensive to many. It’s also offensive to myself, and it does not reflect the training or teachings that we do here at the Tuscaloosa Police Department.”
In the video, the woman involved in the stop is told to get out of her vehicle. When she questions the officer handcuffing her, she’s wrestled to the ground and the officer screams and curses at her. At several points the officer is heard threatening to “kick (her) in the teeth,” saying “you’re lucky I didn’t put my gun in your noggin” and suggesting if his sunglasses were damaged she’d be charged with criminal mischief.
The video is viewable above.
The woman’s original charge, leaving the scene of an accident, is usually handled with a written ticket, Anderson said.
Anderson said he does not condone the actions of the officers involved, and the officers will be going before a disciplinary board. That board will offer Anderson a suggestion on what the board believes is an acceptable outcome, but Anderson said he can change that outcome if he isn’t satisfied with their findings.
“Once I make my recommendations it will go to the City Attorney’s office,” Anderson said. The officers can appeal to the police department’s personnel board.
Anderson said he’s been speaking with the City Attorney regarding the charges filed against the woman, and some of those charges may be dismissed.
The video released on social media Saturday was watched by Anderson, he said. Although he said he believed that video showed an appropriate amount of force, he did feel the incident warranted a second look.
“It’s incredibly difficult when you have a situation like that,” Anderson said. “When you have someone who is resisting your efforts to place them in handcuffs, to get them in a position where you can get them handcuffed. So initially when I saw the video I felt that it warranted more investigation but I was not overly concerned about it.”
It wasn’t until Monday afternoon when he saw the body camera footage that Anderson said he realized officers were not following police policies during their interaction with the suspect.
Anderson said the way the officers acted does not represent the Tuscaloosa Police Department.
“Incidents like this can tear down all of our efforts, and that’s a problem,” Anderson said. “So now we have to start the process over of gaining public trust back and that’s what we’ll be working toward from this point forward.”
Both officers involved have not been suspended, but have been put on desk duty.
Watch the full news conference below.