COLUMBUS — A cell phone video circulating on social media shows Columbus police kicking and punching a suspect during an arrest inside an east side neighborhood market.
Court records show police charged 31-year-old Timothy Davis with resisting police. Davis has a criminal history that includes multiple charges of resisting arrest and assault and there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest.
The criminal complaint says Davis “tensed up to fight” after being told he was under arrest. “Officer grabbed a hold of Mr. Davis and he pulled away. He then took an officer to the ground, fighting and biting officers.”
The video, taken by a bystander, shows officers trying to restrain Davis. Officers repeatedly tell Davis to put his hands behind his back and to stop resisting. The officers can be seen repeatedly punching and kicking Davis.
Police Spokesman Sgt. Dean Worthington says the level of force used depends on what the behavior of the suspect is at the time. “We are allowed to punch and we are allowed to kick,” Worthington said. “That’s part of our use of force continuum and it all depends on what the behavior of the suspect is at the time. Certainly, we don’t want to go out there and punch citizens of our city but we have the authority, we have the responsibility to arrest people and sometimes arrests can be ugly.”
Some of the reaction on social media has been to call for a boycott of the store suggesting the store owner bears some responsibility for what happened. But owner Jehad Elzaben says he’d never seen Davis before and that the incident, good or bad, had nothing to do with the store. “Like a customer saying, why I don’t stop the police. We cannot stop the police, this is the police. Anybody have a problem with the police go to police station and let them know.”
Sgt. Worthington said the incident will be reviewed by police internal affairs to determine whether or not the use of force was within police policy.
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Commentary by Jon Masters,