Silver Spring, MD — A video shared with the Free Thought Project this week shows officers with the Montgomery County Police department holding down a handcuffed man as one of them snaps and drops a knee to the back of his head, smashing his face into the concrete. After the video began to go viral on Twitter, investigators say the officer involved now faces potential criminal charges.
Montgomery County Police said on Friday that the officer seen dropping a knee to the head of the incapacitated and restrained individual could face charges for excessive force. This is the same department whose officer was filmed last month using the N-word while harassing citizens.
As Patch reports:
Just last month, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and Council member Will Jawando hosted a community forum on policing. That came on the heels of a police transparency bill signing, and amid a police investigation into a video that purportedly shows a white officer using a racial slur while talking to a group of black men.
The latest controversial encounter took place at a McDonald's at the Aspen Hill Shopping Center in Silver Spring. While it's not clear when the arrest took place, videos of the profanity-laced exchange surfaced on social media on July 4.
After the video began to go viral, the department released a statement claiming that the incident was under investigation and they asked for anyone with information about the incident to contact them.
"The Montgomery County Department of Police takes any complaints or evidence of excessive force seriously," officials tweeted. "An investigation into this matter has been opened and will be investigated thoroughly."
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Below is the original video from Twitter, warning it contains graphic content.
"It's hard to imagine what circumstances would prompt the officer to use that level of force with a suspect who is already on the ground and restrained," said Councilman Jawando on Twitter.
Acting Police Chief Marcus Jones has asked the State's Attorney to investigate if charges against the officer are appropriate, according to Patch.
When asked, the MCPD responded, noting that there could indeed be charges in both cases.
"There may be criminal charges out of this," Capt. Thomas Jordan, a police spokesman, told Montgomery Community Media on Friday. "Our preliminary review does not seem to support [the officer] using the N-word," Jordan said.
As if a white police officer using the N-word when harassing a group of black people would ever be supported.
After the brief video went viral, another video surfaced the following day showing the moments before the man was handcuffed. As the video shows, the man is certainly struggling, but he has a half dozen cops on top of him.
Once he is subdued and cuffed outside there was no need for anymore force, but that didn't stop the officer from dropping his knee.
Police will also review the arrest from the body cam footage of the officer, Jordan said.
"I want to ensure that all residents of this county are treated respectfully and fairly by our police force," Elrich said on Twitter after the video surfaced.
According to Patch, Montgomery County Council President Nancy Navarro and Vice President Sidney Katz issued a statement after viewing cell phone videos from community members showing the use of force during the arrest at McDonald's.
"We are outraged and deeply saddened to watch the videos that show a young man being apprehended by Montgomery County Police officers using what appears to be excessive force. We appreciate that Acting Police Chief Marcus Jones has promptly initiated a thorough investigation into this arrest," the statement said. "The council is committed to making sure that all our residents feel safe when interacting with police officers. We have asked that Chief Jones appear before the Montgomery County Council as soon as possible in July to brief us on this incident and share with us his strategies for community-police relations, including de-escalation training strategies, to make our county a safe place for all our residents."