3 officers on leave after videotaped arrest at Alabama

AP News
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Posted: Nov 09, 2015 6:48 PM
3 officers on leave after videotaped arrest at Alabama

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Three police officers were suspended with pay Monday after videos posted online showed officers using a stun gun and baton to break up a post-football game party and arrest three University of Alabama students.

Tuscaloosa police Chief Steve Anderson said he was "deeply disturbed" by what he saw in the videos and disappointed in the response of the officers, who were responding to a noise complaint.

The incident occurred at an apartment building about a block from Bryant-Denny Stadium, where Alabama defeated Louisiana State University a few hours before the arrests. Residents said fans celebrated into the early morning hours.

The videos, from varying angles, show a Tuscaloosa officer at the apartment's door, arguing for several minutes with occupants who refuse to exit.

"Please let go of him. You are illegally entering," one of the young men says while an officer tries to lead another person out of the apartment, located within yards of a row of off-campus bars popular with Alabama students.

The person gets away from the officer and goes back inside, and the officer follows him inside as voices get louder.

After nearly two minutes of discussion and arguing, officers enter the residence and drag out two young men and a screaming woman. An officer uses a stun gun on at least one of the men; another officer hits him repeatedly with what appears to be a baton.

Anderson told a news conference the officers on paid leave include one who used a stun gun on a student. The second officer hit a person with a police baton, and the third was the officer who responded to the initial call, the chief said. Their names haven't been released.

A police statement identified the three students as 21-year-old Brandon James Williford, of Collierville, Tennessee; and two 22-year-olds, Matthew Gimlin Macia, of John Creeks, Georgia, and Caroline Elizabeth Giddis, of Collierville, Tennessee.

All three are charged with obstructing governmental operations. Williford is also charged with harassment and resisting arrest; Macia also is charged with resisting; and Giddis is also charged with harassment.

Williford and Giddis did not immediately respond to email messages. An email address for Macia could not be found.

Officers were called on the noise complaint about 3:20 a.m. Sunday. Discarded beer cans, bottles and a pair of underwear still littered the building's walkways Monday afternoon.

Residents of the apartment building said partiers were out late celebrating Alabama's win when police arrived.

"We were downstairs when the first officer rolled up, and then they cut the music and everyone's like 'Oh, looks like they're about to tell us to shut it down,'" said Devin McDade, 22.

McDade said he and his friends were in another apartment on the second floor of the building and opened the door when they heard a commotion outside.

"We thought it was someone getting in a fight, then we just see all these cops yanking them out. As soon as we opened the door we heard the Taser going off," McDade said.

The university said three of its officers responded after a Tuscaloosa officer requested emergency assistance. The school said it was reviewing whether its officers acted properly and was offering unspecified services to students who were involved.