“It was this commotion because he was on top of the man punching him, punching him and the other one was beating him and after they beat him they tased him and they maced him so they did all this while he was handcuffed,” 27-year-old witness Tiara Bailey said, according to the Wavy.com news website.
Bailey recorded a video that shows two Portsmouth police officers yelling at witnesses, including children, as they gathered at the scene of the confrontation.
The three-and-a-half minute video was recorded late on Saturday afternoon at the London Oaks Apartment Complex, where Bailey was visiting.
Witnesses can be heard berating the police officers for mercilessly beating the victim while cursing at them and questioning their behavior “to that man.”
The clip shows a handcuffed suspect on the ground with one of the police officers standing over him. As the situation escalates into a loud back-and-forth with the crowd, the cops appear to lose their cool and resort to direct threats.
“Ok, I’ll get your address and get you evicted,” one of the officers is heard saying while wielding his baton. “Everybody out here needs to disperse. Get the f*** back into your apartment. This is an unlawful assembly get back to your apartment,” the second officer says later in the video.
Bailey told Wavy.com that she took two videos, but one of the cops called her to a patrol car after she had finished recording and asked for her phone. He then deleted the first clip, which Bailey says included footage of them attacking the man.
“After he got my phone and got it back from me he just let me go,” Bailey said. “When I looked at my phone he had deleted the video.”
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) condemned the police officers in astatement that called their actions unconstitutional and abusive.
“While we are unclear of what lead to the arrest, there are several aspects of the encounter depicted in the video in which officers did not respect the basic First Amendment rights of innocent bystanders to peacefully assemble and to record officers without disturbing police procedures,” the group said on Monday. “Officers using foul, offensive and aggressive language towards innocent bystanders while threatening to have them evicted from their homes is disturbing, unprofessional and potentially abusive behavior which should not be tolerated.”
The NAACP has called for a “full and transparent” investigation into the incident.
Portsmouth Police Chief Tonya Chapman has confirmed to the 10 On Your Side TV station that she is aware of the video and that an internal investigation has been launched. When asked whether the two policemen had faced any consequences, Chapman said that they remain on full duty, but refused to provide any details about the officers or to comment on the alleged beating, saying that dash cameras would present a more complete picture.