Aspen, CO-- After reviewing videos uploaded to social media from an incident on Friday the Aspen police chief is defending his officers and saying no further investigation is required.
The unsettling video features police using "pain compliance techniques" on a 16-year-old boy during a marijuana arrest.
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The video is just shy of a minute and a half long and does not show the entire encounter. However, the department has stated that the high school student was unarmed and did not exhibit any violent behavior. If he was unarmed, and not violent, why do we allow this child abuse to go unquestioned?
Officer Adam Loudon claims that he was making his rounds alone when he saw the boy rolling what appeared to be a joint at a bus stop by his high school. When he approached the teenager and confronted him about it, the student reportedly did not answer and tucked something into his sleeve. The officer decided that this was probable cause and grounds for arrest and began to cuff the boy who was attempting to back away and like any teen would do, try to talk his way out of it.
Loudon then decided that this was probable cause and grounds for arrest. The officer began to cuff the boy who was attempting to back away and like any teen would do, to try to talk his way out of it.
The impatient officer then restrained the boy against the wall of the bus stop and called for back up, apparently incapable of dealing with the nonviolent student on his own.
Approximately three minutes later Chip Seamans and Aspen firefighter Ken Josselyn arrived to aid Loudon with his "pain compliance techniques."
In the video, witnesses and passerby's can be heard yelling at the officers, asking them to settle down.
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“If he said he didn’t do anything, why can’t you just talk to him?” one witness asks.
“This is bulls---; he didn’t do anything!” another exclaims.
“If this isn’t excessive, I don’t know what is.” yet another witness notes.
Aspen Police Department Chief Richard Pryor remains stern in his support of the level of force used, telling the Aspen Times that is was appropriate due to the proximity of the school the boy attended.
“We’re willing to sit down and talk to anybody about this series of events,” Pryor told the Aspen Times. “We need community involvement about these sorts of issues. But I want to go back to the location of this incident. It was right next to the schools. That elevated the seriousness of it. We have a really diverse group of people who use that bus stop every day, from kids going to ACES to high school parents to staff,” he said. “We feel it is not appropriate for there to be drug use at that location or alcohol.”
Members of the community and teenage witnesses were not satisfied with the chief's response or what they witnessed. They decided to reach out to the news outlet themselves, explaining that the force they saw was unjustifiable.
Witnesses explained how the teen was just attempting to talk to the officer and receive an explanation as to why he was being arrested.
“Many members of the Aspen community are outraged by the events that happened on Friday afternoon. If (you) ask any person who witnessed the event (they) will tell that it was a complete and total example of police brutality. I’m sure what the (Police Department) forgot to mention was that the policeman didn’t tell him he was being arrested or read the teen his rights. The teenager did not in any way show violence to the police officer. When someone is being handcuffed and they are not informed ... you could understand why he moved his hand away, and that’s all he did, and that’s when things got bad.” stated one email they recieved.
Colorado is notorious for its legalization of recreational marijuana for adults. However, it is still illegal for minors to possess marijuana and illegal to consume marijuana in public.
These low-level offenses are typically dealt with by citations though, not arrests, which may have led to the boy's confusion. Arrests are reserved for those who have a warrant, committed another criminal offense, were also in possession of more serious drugs or had a felony amount of marijuana, The Denver Post reported.
“None of us want this to occur,” Pryor told the Aspen Times. “But it’s the nature of the business we’re in.”
Perhaps it's time to change the nature of the business.