Arrest raises questions about excessive force – NBC 15 Online
McINTOSH, Ala.) March 25 — Dramatic video caught by NBC15 News is forcing local police to answer some tough questions about proper procedure. The actions of a police officer captured on video are under review by the District Attorney for Washington County. Our news crew was in McIntosh for a different story when it caught the scene on camera. NBC 15’s Andrea Ramey witnessed the arrest.
You can see the video at my NORML Daily Audio Stash blog.
McIntosh Police say the chase started as a routine traffic stop and quickly accelerated when Ronald Lee Reed would not stop his truck. When the police caught up with Reed, Officer Blaine Barnett fired a taser into Reed’s truck. Barnett then pulled Reed out, threw him to the ground, and punched him one time on the side of the head. The video also shows Barnett slamming Reed’s face into the asphalt street three times.
Reed didn’t spend the night in jail, though. He walked away with two misdemeanor citations for reckless driving and possession of marijuana.
Officers searched Reed’s truck, but according to a court clerk, the citation says only a “small amount of green substance (was found and) presumed to be marijuana.”
So, why use of the taser, the punch and the suspect’s head being slammed to the street when Reed was cited for minor offenses?
For more than a week, NBC15 News has been trying to get someone from the McIntosh Police to talk about the tape, to see if proper procedure was followed. The chief wouldn’t talk. The chief’s name is Michael Barnett… and he’s Officer Blaine Barnett’s father.
50,000 volts, a punch to the head, and slamming his head on concrete three times, all for a traffic violation and misdemeanor marijuana possession. We really need to get control over this increasing misuse of tasers by police – if your suspect doesn’t have a gun, a knife, or an overwhelming physical advantage, there is no excuse for the use of a taser!