MARION — Marion Police Chief David Fitts said the officers seen in a bystander video Friday punching and using a Taser on a suspect have not been placed on administrative leave.
“None of them were and they’re not going to be,” Fitts told The Southern Tuesday.
Bystander video obtained by The Southern appears to show three officers attempting to detain a white suspect, Jeramey K. Brown, 22, of Benton, on the pavement in front of Pookie’s Bar in Marion Friday.
One officer is then seen repeatedly punching Brown in the back, the video appears to show.
In two separate moments, one officer appears to deliver several blows to Brown's body before another officer uses a Taser on him — it appeared that officers struggled to put Brown's hands behind his back to be handcuffed, according to the video.
Fitts was emphatic when asked whether any of the officers had been placed on leave.
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Marion police said the department is opening an investigation into the matter "based on concerns raised on social media regarding our officers handling of the interaction, as well as the appropriateness of the use of force,'' a department news release stated.
“As of right of now we are looking into this one,” Fitts said, adding that there was not a specific policy in place within the department laying out how such investigations are handled.
“Anything where there’s any kind of a question I may confer with the state police on it,” Fitts said.
He said the officers in the video handled the situation correctly.
As part of the investigation, MPD will review "all available facts and evidence including witness statements as well as videos posted to social media. Additional information will be provided as the investigation continues."
Department officials released their version of events in a media statement Sunday.
Authorities were called Friday at 11:51 p.m. to investigate bottles being thrown at motorists from a rooftop near the Marion post office, according to the release.
A man, later identified as Brown, who was not involved in the initial call allegedly began interfering with the investigation, police said. He allegedly exhibited “hostile behavior," according to an officer’s report.
Brown was first seen by police in a dark alley near the location of the original complaint.
He had a beer in each hand, according to the officer. After being told to pour out the beers, the officer stated that Brown acted “with hostility” and started to walk away.
Brown, after a small struggle, eventually went back inside the bar before returning some time later, again with two bottles of beer, according to the officer, court documents state.
The officer said Brown eventually came to stand in the middle of Madison Street, screaming profanities at officers who were still investigating the original call, court documents state.
Brown attempted to go back inside via the Pookie's patio but was blocked by a bartender. The reporting officer said the suspect allegedly shoved the bartender to regain entry to Pookie's.
Brown has been charged with battery and resisting a peace officer, according to court documents.
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