Police have released body camera footage of a traffic stop which occurred on Thursday night in Rainbow City, Alabama, following public outcry surrounding a viral Facebook post. The post, which was shared tens of thousands of times, claimed a black man was beaten “half to death” by officers. However, video of the incident tells a very different story.
Pictures of a bruised and bloodied man in a hospital bed were posted to Facebook by the suspect’s family in an apparent attempt to drum up sympathy from the public and stir anti-police sentiments. “Rainbow city beat him half to death and pushed him off a bridge,” the post claimed. “The people who are supposed to serve and protect. He’s trying to talk but his whole front row of teeth are knocked out, he had to have his tongue sewed back together and his femur bone is broken he has to have surgery on it.”
As usual, social media users jumped to conclusions after seeing the gory photographs without ever pausing to get the facts straight before passing judgment. However, as accusations of police brutality were lobbed at law enforcement officers simply trying to do their jobs, body camera footage of the incident was released, which reveals the truth surrounding the suspect’s gruesome injuries.
In response to the allegations, the Rainbow City Police Department released shocking body camera footage that shows what really happened to the suspect.
In the video released by Police Chief Jonathon Horton, the suspect is seen suddenly running away from officers and jumping over a barrier, falling roughly 19 feet onto what appear to be rocks. [Source: IJR]
That’s right, the suspect’s injuries were self-inflicted, every single one of them, from the missing front row of teeth to the broken femur, which, I’ve heard, is quite a painful bone to break. The thug must have had one hell of a reason to do this to himself.
As it turns out, he had a probation revocation for two felony warrants for dangerous drugs and misdemeanor traffic warrants. Looks like somebody didn’t want to go back to jail.
Horton said an officer conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle at Black Creek Parkway for not having a tail light at 8:40 p.m. As the officer was giving the female driver a warning for the tail light, Horton said the officer noticed the male passenger was acting nervous. The officer asked for the passenger’s identification, but the passenger told police he did not have an Alabama driver’s license, Horton said, though he did give law enforcement a name and a date of birth, Horton said.
The female driver was then interviewed separately from the male. The female gave the officer the male’s real name, Horton said. When the passenger’s real name was searched in the system, Horton said, police found a probation revocation for two felony warrants for dangerous drugs and misdemeanor traffic warrants, according to Horton. [Source: AL.com]
As soon as the suspect realized police were onto him, he unexpectedly ran from the car, crossing two lanes of oncoming traffic toward the median, and jumped over the barrier, which is a 19-foot drop. His injuries were a result of this jump. As the body cam video shows, police never even made physical contact with the man until a Taser was eventually deployed as they worked to detain him.
It’s a good thing this officer was wearing a body camera during this contentious traffic stop. Otherwise, it would be the word of a common street criminal against that of the police, and we already know how that ends. Had it not been for this footage, we could have had the next Michael Brown on our hands.