City says videos showed Mississippi police properly used force

Published 2:21 pm Saturday, May 8, 2021

A city council in Mississippi has decided three police officers did not violate policy when they used force to subdue and arrest a man on an indecent exposure charge.

The Commercial Dispatch reported that a nearby witness shot video that appeared to show the Columbus officers lifting the man off his feet and then slamming him to the ground Sunday. The video soon began circulating on social media.

Police Chief Fred Shelton told the newspaper early in the week that he was investigating the video.

The Columbus Police Department on Thursday released footage from the three officers’ body cameras, which they activated. The footage included nudity and graphic language. It showed the officers talking to the man several minutes before grabbing him and trying to put handcuffs on him.

Footage from one officer’s camera shows the man break out of the handcuffs before the officers close and lock the cuffs just before they lift him and slam him to the ground.

Shelton said the officers followed the Columbus Police Department’s policy on use of force, starting with verbal commands and moving to force when the man did not comply. He said neither the officers nor the arrested man used weapons during their interaction.

“When police officers are arresting people, we’ve got to use force, to a certain degree,” Shelton said Wednesday during a police department overview committee meeting. “We have to use force, and it doesn’t always look good.”

The Columbus City Council decided during a closed meeting Thursday that the officers will not face disciplinary action.