Portsmouth, OH — As the Free Thought Project previously reported, an intense video uploaded to Facebook this week is beginning to go viral as it shows a Portsmouth police officer choking an EMT. However, on Friday, body camera footage from an officer on scene was also released.
The original video, which was taken Saturday night outside of a Portsmouth bar, shows what happens when a police officer has his authority questioned. Originally, the police department claimed that the video doesn’t show everything that happened. However, multiple eye-witnesses have come forward and have told their versions — they are all the same. And now, we have the body camera footage to back it up as well.
According to police and witnesses, a fight had broken out in front of a bar in downtown Portsmouth last Saturday night. Police and EMS responded and the EMT began treating a man who’d been bleeding and knocked unconscious.
As the newly released body camera footage shows, the victim of the alleged fight was laid out on the curb, unconscious and bleeding from the head.
While the EMT and firefighters were prepping the man for a trip in the ambulance, the man regained consciousness and was naturally startled.
“He just woke up from being knocked out, and he’s got guys all around him grabbing a hold of him,” Trevor Conley, one of many witnesses said. “You’re going to freak out.”
Instead of calming the man down, as the EMT and other first responders were trying to do, Portsmouth Police Sergeant Joel Robinson rushed over and began tasering the man. At this point, acting out of concern for the man’s life, the EMT questioned Robinson’s choice to taser a man who was bleeding and unconscious and tried to prevent it. However, he was swiftly met with police violence of his own for daring to touch the officer on the shoulder.
The EMT told Robinson that he cannot taser the guy as he has a massive wound to the back of his head.
Josh Journey, another witness, explained, “Then after that, he grabbed the EMT, took him across the street, and I saw him have his hand on his throat all the way across the road and had him up against that cruiser.”
“When the EMT was telling him ‘you can’t do that, you can’t do that, he’s got head trauma,’ he grabbed him up here,” Chad Bennett said, who also witnessed the incident first hand, as he gestured around his neck.
At this point, Journey says that’s when he started recording. Journey’s video is clear and shows the officer holding the EMT by his throat against the police cruiser — allegedly for the act of questioning his authority.
But this cop’s anger wasn’t over yet. After he attacked the EMT, he turned his attention to the people who just documented the attack.
“He saw us with our phones out,” Journey said. “That’s when he came across the street at us and was pretty hostile.”
In an apparent fit of rage, the officer verbally berates the witnesses, threatens them all with jail, and attempted to confiscate their phones. However, he was unsuccessful.
“I think they realized that they’d messed up,” Journey said.
“He could’ve handled it a little better,” Conley said. “I know the situation was crazy.”
In a press conference on Thursday, Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware noted that the officer’s actions were justified and Robinson would not receive any punishment.
“Oftentimes we look at video in a vacuum,” Ware said. “We take what we see in one angle and we form an opinion based on that angle. Sometimes, subconsciously we add our own filler to figure out what happened.”
Police claim that Robinson only grabbed the paramedic under the arm and never put his hand around his throat. However, it is entirely clear, even from far away, on the body camera footage, that Robinson had his hand around the EMT’s neck.
On Friday, the Portsmouth Daily-Times put out a ridiculous cover piece for the police almost making it seem like Robinson was some hero.
Robinson, who knew the crowd was closing in on him, did not know who touched him and responded by hooking his arm and pushing him back. Robinson eventually guided the paramedic across the street and, according to Ware, pushed the paramedic’s clavicle. It was that action that appeared on the short video to be grabbing of the throat, but that does not appear in the full video.
However, as you can clearly see in the video above, that is a lie.