BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s happened again: police caught on video in a chaotic struggle with a suspect—but this time, the city’s top cop says his officers used necessary force and he’s renewing his calls for body cameras on every officer.
Christie Ileto has more on the investigation.
A violent arrest caught on camera lands Jamar Kennedy in jail for assaulting officers and police brass explaining why there’s mayhem outside Melba’s Nightclub.
“I never want officers to use force that is unnecessary or excessive but I don’t condone citizens punching police officers,” said Commissioner Anthony Batts.
Charging documents reveal Kennedy struggled with one of the club bouncers early Tuesday morning. When police stepped in, he turned violent. An officer said, “Kennedy threw me off of him.”
The tape shows the rest: Kennedy resisting arrest, officers using batons and Tasing him twice. The second came after he was on the ground on top of another officer.
“This is a perfect example of what our officers are up against,” said Detective Rob Cherry, Jr., president of the police union.
The police union says the five cops were doing their job.
“If this suspect had not assaulted our officer inside that club, that force wouldn’t have been used,” Cherry said.
The images, though, are jarring to patrons.
“I felt like I was looking at something from Ferguson,” said one, who didn’t want to be identified.
The managers inside Melba’s didn’t want to talk on camera but they did say they have very few of these types of incidents.
But Tuesday’s brawl reinforces the commissioner’s push for body cams. Just last week, a disturbing video of an officer punching a man became public when a lawsuit was filed.
“It never looks good when you have to use a baton,” Batts said. “But the question becomes not if it looks good but if the force was appropriate for the circumstance.”
With only one camera from one angle, police struggle to answer that question.
The five officers involved are on administrative leave.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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