DC Police say three officers are under investigation by the US attorney for the use of violence on Sunday.
WASHINGTON – Three DC police officers are under investigation after a video on social media showed that an officer repeatedly hit a man during an arrest while the other two officers tried to restrain him, the DC police chief said, Robert Contee, in a press conference on Monday.
The incident, which occurred on Sunday on the 1500 block of U Street to the southeast, is being reported alongside the U.S. attorney for review, and all three officers have been placed on contactless status, Contee said. He added that the DC Police will also start their own investigation.
Contee said an illegal weapon was confiscated during the interaction, but he expressed frustration and sadness. He also expressed his embarrassment at what had happened.
“I saw this video. I’m embarrassed, discouraged and ashamed of what I saw, ”said Contee. “We are an agency of more than 3,500 officials and we assure the community that this is not in line with our training, tactics, policies and procedures, or with the values of our agency.”
It’s not entirely clear what happened or what events led to the videotaped moments, but Contee said the arrest began after officers saw illegal activity that could have included a drug deal.
The clip shows four officers surrounding a man who is pinned to a fence by three of the officers. One officer facing the pinned man slapped him about 13 times in the face and body, while the other officers handcuffed him.
“We have a responsibility to deal with the community and we haven’t done that,” Contee said in his press conference.
During the incident, you can hear a bystander yell at the officers, “Aye moe! Why are you beating him ?! Why are you beating him?” several times.
One of the officers replied, “We’re trying to handcuff him!”
Another person was also overheard questioning the officers, “Why did you hit him ?!”
The Metropolitan Police Department is holding a press conference at noon on Monday to address the violence shown in the video.
Attention: This video contains graphic content. Please note.
On Tuesday, the DC Council voted to cut Mayor Muriel Bowser’s request in half to $ 11 million to hire 170 new officers for the force.
Instead, council members approved $ 5 million for new officers and $ 6.1 million for other security programs and initiatives.
A spokesman for Councilor Janeese Lewis George believed the revised funding would help recruit around 60 officers and a few additional cadets over the next two years.
The $ 6.1 million alternative financing includes:
- $ 3.3 million for Cure the Streets violence breaker
- $ 1.9 million for Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (ONSE) violence interrupters
- $ 884,000 for the ONSE Leadership Academy
As of Tuesday night, DC had recorded 114 homicides that year, up 5% from the same time last time. In 2020, homicides in the district reached a 16-year high.
The compromise comes after Mayor Muriel Bowser requested more funding to hire more police officers amid a crime wave.
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