Friday, July 24, 2015

Iowa City Releases Video of Police Officer Tackling & Arresting Teen for Not Leaving Rec Center Quickly Enough

Last month, several local friends began posting on Facebook an uploaded video of a black teen being tackled at the local rec center by an Iowa City police officer. (You can watch the whole thing here)

Initially, it looks like the teen is noncompliant with orders to put his hand behind his back so that he can be cuffed. But then you listen to the teen under the cop's screams and you will hear him state that his arm is pinned. And it does indeed look to me like the teen's arm is pinned under his body by the officer.

I don't know the teen, but several of my friends know him. They vouch for his character. The teen himself wrote on Facebook that police were called to the rec center and told the teens to leave. He said that he asked the officer why they needed to leave and did not receive an answer. He said that he turned to get his back and was tackled by the officer.

I have a teen who's the age of this teen. So I'm somewhat skeptical. But, after watching a 23 minute video released by the City of Iowa City earlier today, I believe the teen. (You can watch the whole thing here) The city also released this PR package to further tell their side of the story.

From watching the video, you have a group of mostly black teens hanging out in the upper area of the rec center. They are talking and occasionally goofing around. Reportedly, there is a meeting going on near there and they complained to the rec center staff that the kids were being too loud. The cop came and told the kids to leave. The one boy spoke briefly to the cop. He turned to leave within 3-4 seconds. The cop then tackled the boy.

Check out these stills and note the time stamps. Once again, check out the video for a clearer understanding of what happened:

I am completely unimpressed with the City of Iowa City right now. Our police need to learn how to respond less aggressively to non-aggressive individuals. The cop completely escalated this situation. I find that completely inappropriate, even if the Iowa City Police Department finds it to be legally justified.

As noted above, I have a son of my own who's in his mid-teens. It is hard for me to not see him being tackled by this cop or another like him. It is hard for me to not imagine him confronting an officer after being kicked out of a public building for doing nothing more than hanging out with his friends and being a bit noisier than some adults might like them to be.

I complained on Twitter about this situations and got directed by the City of Iowa City's PR packet. I questioned why the teen was tackled. I was directed to the chief of police.

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