An investigation has been launched after video footage showed a member of the U.S. Marshals Service seemingly struck a handcuffed suspect in the face during a violent arrest on Sept. 16.
According to Ring camera footage, authorities were seen striking 17-year-old Kevin Harris as he was escorted from his home in Jackson, Mississippi.
Harris and 16-year-old Demetrius Lee were being arrested for their alleged involvement in an August shooting that left 6-year-old Jeison Elias Ramon Lopez and 42-year-old Tracy Wilder dead in Canton.
Police told WAPT both were victims of a stray bullet. Lopez was in the back seat of his mother’s vehicle when he was struck. Meanwhile, Wilder was changing someone’s oil at a nearby gas station when he was hit.
Tomar Smith, 24, and another 17-year-old are already in custody facing accessory and conspiracy charges in connection to the case.
Several officers are seen in the clip. One man is escorting a shirtless Harris when another officer strikes him in the face. The escorting officer then drags him a few steps.
An unnamed eyewitness told the outlet she was asleep when officers barged through the door and ransacked the house. “They drug him, they hit him, and they was handcuffed through this whole ordeal,” she said. “The way that they came in and how they did them – it’s like they already got on their mind like, ‘They did this; you’re guilty of this.’”
The video caused outrage on social media, where Instagram user @davenwworld_ shared the video on Friday, Sept. 17. “The fact that the other members didn’t do a damn thing means they do this often and they all cover for each other… but we all knew that.”
Another person commented, “Such unprofessional behavior. That should be grounds for immediate termination. No damn investigation needed, the assault is in plane sight!! ”They added, “That man has zero control of his emotions and evidently is unfit for that job!!”
Meanwhile others called for the officers involved to be terminated. “Fire them, fine them, make them ineligible for unemployment,” suggested a third. A fourth commented, “He needs to be charged with assault and the other officers need to be charged as accessories.”
“They all should be fired. They stood there after that assault and did nothing. Nah those are all bad apples imo,” said a fifth.
Harris’ mother told the outlet the footage “is just really messing with me, like to hear my baby screaming. ‘Mama, where you at?’ They doing too much. I don’t like that. I just feel like I failed my baby that day.”
The woman, whose name was not revealed, said she had been out of town when the teens were arrested.
“Why would y’all hire people like this?” She continued, “Do y’all check backgrounds anything of that? Something ain’t right. The way they came here like it was planned already, like it was already made up how they would torture these kids.
In a statement, the U.S. Marshals Service said it was “aware of an incident that occurred this morning involving members of our multi-agency Gulf Coast Regional Task Force (GCRTF) in Mississippi. We take any allegation of misconduct by our personnel or task force partners seriously and we are currently gathering information regarding the incident.”
Harris and Lee are being held at the Madison County Jail, both facing two counts of capital murder, aggravated assault and conspiracy. Harris’ mother maintains he’s innocent.