Cell phone video posted to social media this week appears to show Columbus police kicking and punching a suspect during an arrest at a neighborhood market.
The video, taken by bystanders inside the store, shows officers trying to restrain 31-year-old Timothy Davis, who police claimed “tensed up to fight” and took an officer down with him after learning he was under arrest, NBC4i reported. Officers later charged Davis with resisting arrest.
Eyewitnesses at the store felt police used excessive force, however.
“They’re beating the f–k out of him,” one man is heard saying during the Sept. 2 arrest. “They’re beating his ass. That’s a lawsuit.”
A woman also is heard on the video asking, “Why are they beating him like that?”
Davis, who had a warrant out for his arrest, reportedly has a history of charges related to resisting arrest and assault, according to NBC4i. In the video, police are heard repeatedly instructing the Ohio man to put his hands behind his back and stop resisting before being forced to the ground. That’s when officers are seen repeatedly punching and kicking Davis once he’s already down.
Speaking with the news station, police spokesman Sgt. Dean Worthington defended the actions of the officers, saying the use of force depends on the behavior of the suspect at the time.
“We are allowed to punch, we are allowed to kick,” Worthington said. “It’s part of our use-of-force continuum.”
Outcry over the alleged excessive force led some on social media to call for a boycott of the store where the arrest occurred, placing blame on the store’s owner, the news station said. Backlash over the incident also led to anti-police brutality rallies in Columbus.
Worthington said there’s an Internal Affairs investigation underway to determine whether the force officers used on Davis was reasonable or not.
“We’re looking into it,” he said.