Pittsburg police has released a 19-minute long bodycam video of a violent arrest that took place last weekend, following public outcry of police brutality after a cellphone video of the arrest surfaced online.
A cellphone video of the Sept. 15 arrest taken from across the street showed two police officers punching a man several times in their attempt to restrain him.
“Some who’ve viewed the video mistakenly believe the suspect was handcuffed — but he was not,” police said in a statement. "It is important to note that often a single video does not tell the full story."
Police said they stopped the 31-year-old man because he matched the description of a person who was reportedly stealing gasoline. In the video, one of the police officers said the reported gas thief was described as "HMA" or "BMA", Hispanic or Black Male Adult.
Footage from the bodycam released by police showed the initial interaction the man had with police. The man refused to drop what he was holding after police asked several times, and told police to "shoot me, shoot me" after saying he did not trust "you guys."
After a second police officer arrived, the man dropped the crowbar he was holding in his hand. Officers then moved in to put handcuffs on the man. That's when the struggle ensued and police threw several punches, or what they called "distraction blows", in order to get the suspect to put his hands behind his back.
Blood can be seen on the sidewalks and all over the man's face. Police said he was later treated by medical personnel because he was arrested for resisting arrest and violating his probation.
“By policy, officers should use force as a last resort,” police said in a statement. “By it’s [sic] nature, it never looks good. But, often the use of force is both for public and officer safety.”
The incident is under internal investigation to determine whether officers' use of force was reasonable, police said.