VIDEO | LMPD says controversial traffic stop under review - WDRB 41 Louisville News

VIDEO | LMPD says controversial traffic stop under review

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WARNING: The video above may contain some graphic language.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A controversial stop and arrest by Louisville Metro Police was caught on video, and it has some in the community concerned about an officer's use-of-force protocol.

The video sent to WDRB begins with a man in the passenger seat of a car as two LMPD officers yell at him to get out of the vehicle. After some back and forth, the suspect, Montez Williams, is pulled from the vehicle by police and ends up face down on the ground.

An officer punched Williams in the back and arms to get him to comply while police were trying to handcuff him. Police say the incident is under investigation, but they have not disclosed the names of the officers.

"The administrative review will fully analyze the incident to ensure all laws, policies and procedures were appropriately followed," according to a statement from Dwight Mitchell, a spokesman for police. "In addition to the video captured by a private citizen, the administrative review will also analyze the footage from each officers’ body worn cameras."

"Initially, I really did wonder what precipitated the stop," said Dr. Ricky Jones, the chair of Pan-African Studies at the University of Louisville. "Why [was] there was engagement with the passenger?"

In the video, you can hear the officers telling the passenger to get out of the car. But then, things change.

Officer: "Give me your hand. You're going to get tased!

Suspect: Why am I going to get tased?"

"It's like the officers go through like some Pavlovian response and actually start to beat him and and pull the taser," Dr. Jones said.

"And to try to be balanced about it, some people could certainly argue that the young man was being a bit dramatic."

According to the arrest report, Williams was pulled over after he failed to use a turn signal at an intersection near Berry Lane. When the vehicle stopped, police said Williams switched seats with a passenger. 

Officers smelled marijuana and asked Williams to exit the vehicle, according to the report. 

When Williams would not comply, police "attempted" to remove him but he "continued to resist by pulling away" and "tightening his arms up close to his body," according to the police report. 

Officers found a bag of marijuana in the vehicle. Williams was charged with possession of marijuana, resisting arrest, improper signal and no registration plates. 

He does not yet have an attorney, according to court records. Williams, who could not be immediately reached for comment, pleaded not guilty and paid a $500 bond to get out of jail. A judge scheduled his next court hearing for Oct. 20. 

LMPD released a lengthy statement Wednesday afternoon, defending the officers' actions:

LMPD is aware of a use of force incident by our officers during an arrest which was captured on video by a private citizen and posted to the internet.

We urge the public to review our Use of Force Policy which outlines that officers are sometimes confronted with situations where control must be exercised to affect arrests and to protect public safety. While control is often achieved through de-escalation tactics there are times when the use of reasonable physical force may be necessary in situations that cannot be otherwise controlled because the suspect remains non-compliant and/or reasonable alternatives have been exhausted or would reasonably be ineffective under the particular circumstances.

The following is preliminary information for this particular incident: On October 8, 2016, at approximately 3:05 pm, an officer observed a vehicle commit traffic violations and subsequently stopped the vehicle. As the vehicle stopped, the officer observed the driver, Montez Williams, switch seats with the passenger. Upon approaching the vehicle, the officer smelled a strong odor of marijuana. As a second officer arrived, he too noticed the strong odor of marijuana. The officer asked Williams, who was now on the passenger side, multiple times to exit the vehicle, yet he refused. Because Williams remained non-compliant the officer attempted to remove him from the vehicle. Williams continued to resist by pulling away from both officers and tightening his arms close to his body. The officers utilized force they deemed to be reasonable and necessary to bring Williams into compliance. Once the suspect was properly restrained, officers then discovered a clear plastic bag in the center console which contained marijuana.

Williams was charged with Possession of Marijuana, Resisting Arrest, Failure to or Improper Signal, No Registration Plates, Failure to Maintain Required Insurance, and he was also served with an additional bench warrant for Possession of Marijuana.

The above information is preliminary and, per policy, LMPD supervisors responded to the scene to initiate a review of the entire incident. That review, including the use of force, will be fully documented in an Administrative Incident Review report.

The administrative review will fully analyze the incident to ensure all laws, policies and procedures were appropriately followed. In addition to the video captured by a private citizen, the administrative review will also analyze the footage from each officers’ body worn cameras. The final report will be forwarded to the Chief who will determine whether a Professional Standards investigation is necessary.

To watch the full, unedited video from inside the car, click here.

And you can watch body camera video from one of the officers here. LMPD outlines their use-of-force policy here.

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