Video of San Francisco officers pinning one-legged black man sparks anger online

Reuters News
|
Posted: Aug 18, 2015 5:21 PM

By Curtis Skinner

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A cellphone video showing numerous San Francisco police officers pinning and arresting a one-legged black man near the city's downtown financial district has sparked anger on social media.

The footage emerged amid a national debate over police use of force, particularly against minority groups, following the deaths of a number of unarmed black men at the hands of police.

The 11-minute video, uploaded to YouTube on Monday and believed to be captured earlier this month, opens with five officers straddling the man and attempting to handcuff him. One officer can be seen standing directly on the man's prosthetic leg.

Throughout the clip, the man can be heard saying he is in pain and asks to be let go. The man's pants can also be seen falling below his buttocks, where they remain for several minutes before officers pull them back up.

"This is how you treat citizens? You're having him partially nude while you pin him down on his prosthetic leg?" said Chaedria LaBouvier as she recorded the video. "You're protecting and serving the community having this man half naked? You don't protect and serve this community if that's policing to you."

About 12 officers can be seen surrounding the man and forming a wall between him and a gaggle of onlookers, many with cellphones in hand, before the fire department brings him a wheelchair and the clip ends.

The San Francisco Police Department had no immediate comment on the video or details of the man's arrest.

The footage was first published in a posting to the news and features website Medium, and the clip has already generated more than 100,000 views on YouTube.

Many people reacted to the video on social media, calling the use of force excessive.

"What everyday racist policing looks like: unnecessary force, brutal disrespect and little humanity," said Twitter user Karen Breakey.

It was not immediately clear what prompted the incident, but the Medium article said someone called to report a man waving sticks in the air. The posting said those sticks turned out to be the man's crutches.

In a previous controversy involving San Francisco police, prosecutors in May dismissed eight criminal cases involving arrests linked to 14 officers who traded racist and homophobic text messages.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Peter Cooney)