Police Brutality Caught on Tape?
(11/02/06 -- CHAPEL HILL) (WTVD) -- Eyewitness News has obtained exclusive video showing police using force to take a man into custody at Chapel Hill's downtown Halloween party.
Ron Johnson was visiting from New York, shooting video of the Franklin Street celebration for a DVD. Pictures show the ugly side of the Halloween celebration, with revelers confronting officers, expletives all over and a suspect on the ground. At one point, an officer forcefully takes down someone.
"It's like four or five cops on one person. They took him down kind of hard," Johnson said. "Very unnecessary for him to do it like that."
Eyewitness News showed the video to Chapel Hill Police Chief Gregg Jarvies. He said the takedown in the video is allowed and taught to officers, but he could not say if it was used appropriately Tuesday night.
"The key would be to see what happened before," Jarvies said. "Were there perceived threats? [Was the suspect] already told to get down?"
Johnson does not known what happened.
"Who knows? Maybe they did say something to police or someone else and police took whatever force necessary," he said. "But everybody's having a good time and all of a sudden, you see all these police coming at you."
Jarvies defended officers from unfounded claims of brutality.
"The perception by the public that you shouldn't ever put your hands on anyone or bring anyone down is nice - - if everyone's cooperative," he said.
Jarvies believes the law-enforcement officer seen in the video is a deputy with either the Chatham or Wake sheriff's offices. He said those sheriffs will be contacted about the tape. No one has filed any formal complaint.
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