A Kentucky police department is under scrutiny after a video of an officer punching a homeless man repeatedly circulated on social media.
The incident happened on Tuesday morning in a parking garage at the PNC Tower in Louisville, Kentucky, as reported by The Courier-Journal. The video shows several Louisville Metro Police Department officers swarming a homeless Black man while he was pinned to the ground by at least three officers. The man, later identified as Foussene Pemba, 29, was heard yelling “stop” several times as the officers demanded he turn over.
At one point, Pemba managed to swing at one of the cops who retaliated with at least a dozen punches to his head. At the end of the video, five officers carried Pemba out of the building. The video was posted online the same day, where it gained attention from outraged citizens.
“These cops wonder why we don’t trust or respect them. LMPD y’all better fire this [clown],” wrote one Twitter user. “S–t like this is getting old. Y’all gotta give respect if u want it. “
“Another day another white police officer brutalizing a black man…courtesy of the good ol boys of the LMPD,” wrote another.
“This is disgusting! Punching that man all those times!!! Yelling ‘TURN OVER’ but you’re laying in him,” noted one woman.
According to WDRB, the police were called because Pemba was reportedly harassing people in the parking garage. When LMPD officers arrived to the scene, Pemba was being restrained by a security guard. An arrest report claims officers tried to cuff him, but Pemba “refused to follow instructions to put his hands behind his back.”
He was eventually taken to the ground and officers allegedly tried to tase him, but it didn’t work. The report said Pemba punched an officer and left a mark above his eye. He was also accused of biting an officer’s hand and biting another in the “right thigh/groin area.” LMPD claimed Pemba was punched with an “empty hand to attempt to gain compliance.”
Pemba was later charged with resisting arrest and assault, per WLKY. He made his first court appearance on Wednesday, where The Jefferson County Attorney’s Office insisted on a $10,000 bond due to prior offenses.
“A prior misdemeanor conviction for Jefferson County is for resisting arrest,” said an office spokesperson. “He was out on a bench warrant for criminal trespass 3rd, and the facts and circumstances alleged here would certainly indicate an escalation in behavior and certainly cause concern for the safety of the community.”
The judge opted for a $5,000 cash bond. LMPD Chief Steve Conrad admitted he knew about the video and told The Courier-Journal he launched a Professional Standards Unit investigation. The officer who punched Pemba has not been identified.
Atlanta Black Star reached out to the LMPD for comment and will update this story if we receive a response.