Activists Claim Police Brutality During Protest
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Caught on tape. A protester is pinned to the ground by police and activists say what happened to him is police brutality.
Meghan McCorkell has more on the police response.
Police say that man failed to follow instructions when he was ordered to move out of the street and onto the sidewalk, but activists claim officers took it too far.
Chaos broke out at a protest in East Baltimore. A YouTube video showed police pinning a man to the ground.
“They grabbed me,” said protester Thomas Threatt. “I say, `Why is you grabbing me? My daughter’s out here.’”
You can see an officer spray mace as the man lay face down.
“He sprayed it in my mouth, my eyes,” said Threatt.
While grabbing his hair, an officer leaned his knee on the suspect’s neck.
“Next thing you know, some big cop came and he put his knee in my head,” said Threatt.
As he’s flipped over, you can see another officer knee him in the chest.
“It doesn’t take five officers in an aggressive manner to subdue one man,” said Richie Armstrong, Community Churches United.
Monday night, activists gathered to call the incident police brutality. They want the police commissioner to punish the officers.
“We want the major to be suspended and we want every single officer that was involved in that assault to be suspended,” said Rev. Cortly Witherspoon.
Police say protesters were blocking traffic. Those that refused to get off the street were arrested.
In a statement, a police spokesman says, “The department stands by the actions of those officers; however, should individuals feel that police acted inappropriately, we strongly urge them to contact the Internal Affairs division, where their complaints will be thoroughly investigated.”
The man in the video faces multiple charges including resisting arrest and disturbing the peace. Activists are also calling for all charges to be dropped against that protester.