Video: Virginia police launch investigation after video shows cops threatening witnesses

(Photo Courtesy: Tiara Bailey)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Portsmouth police are investigating a controversial cell phone video that’s circulating on social media.

The video was shot Saturday around 3 p.m. at the London Oaks Apartment Complex and runs about 3 1/2 minutes. It shows a man in handcuffs on the ground and two officers standing over him. Then you can hear people surrounding the officers berating them, yelling and cursing and claiming the officers beat the man.

27-year-old Tiara Bailey recorded the video. She said, “It was this commotion because he was on top of the man punching him, punching him and the other one was beating him and after they beat him they tased him and they maced him so they did all this while he was handcuffed.”

In the video, both officers tell the crowd to move back, but the other things they said is what’s causing concern. About one minute into the video, you see an officer pointing a baton at the woman who was recording on her cell phone.

Officer #1 said: “Leave now.”

Woman: “We live out here.”

Officer #1: “Ok, I’ll get your address and get you evicted.”

Woman: “Because we’re standing here recording you?

Officer #1 “You’re being disorderly (inaudible).”

A minute after this part of the recording, another officer addresses the crowd.

Officer #2: “Everybody out here needs to disperse. Get the f*** back into your apartment. This is an unlawful assembly get back to your apartment.”

Portsmouth Police are investigating the video, so we have blurred the officer’s faces.

Bailey had been visiting family that day and she was headed home when she started recording.

Bailey said after she stopping recording the second video, an officer called her to a patrol car, asked for her phone and deleted the first clip she recorded. According to her, that clip showed police attacking a man.

Below is the full video of the Portsmouth police incident:

VIDEO CONTAINS FOUL LANGUAGE

“After he got my phone and got it back from me he just let me go,” Bailey said. When I looked at my phone he had deleted the video.”

Bailey and Portsmouth NAACP president James Boyd watched the video again at the WAVY studios.

“They just cursed us out like we were dogs,” Bailey said.

Boyd told WAVY.com he believes this video shows a First Amendment violation. “This was a situation where people were exercising their First Amendment rights. Clearly they weren’t impeding any law enforcement procedures at all, and they fell victim to an aggressive style of law enforcement. That was totally an abuse of power,” said Boyd.

NAACP releases statement on Portsmouth Police incident

Boyd said he wants a thorough investigation. “This open-ended we’re investigating is not good enough. The community wants transparency. When these things happen let’s not hide. Let’s be open. Let’s be fair. If we really want to get to a place where law enforcement can have a true relationship, when these things happen come out with it,” he said.

10 On Your Side reached out to Portsmouth Police with several questions about the incident. No one would talk on camera, but late Monday afternoon we got responses to our questions from Police Chief Tonya Chapman.

Through email 10 On Your Side’s Brandi Cummings asked: What day/time was this video taken? Where was it taken?
Chief: This video appears to have been taken on Saturday, April 30, 2016.  The time was approximately 4:30 p.m. and it appears to have been taken in the 1100 block of Virginia Avenue [London Oaks Apartments].

Cummings: When did Portsmouth PD first learn about the video? Who alerted you?
Chief: We received this information through Facebook over the weekend.  We will not be identifying who alerted the Police Department to this video.

Cummings: What is the chief’s reaction to the video?
Chief: After being alerted to the video, Police Chief Chapman immediately opened an internal investigation into the incident that was captured on the Facebook video.  We are reserving any further comment on this matter until we have fully investigated the incident.

Photo Courtesy: Portsmouth Police
Marquis D. Granger. Photo Courtesy: Portsmouth Police

Cummings: What is the name and age of the person in handcuffs? Was he arrested? What is he charged with?
Chief: Marquis D. Granger was arrested on two outstanding warrants and as a result of the incident with officers, he was also charged with Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer (x2), Attempt to disarm a law enforcement officer, Give false information to Law Enforcement to evade arrest,  Obstruction of Justice, Resisting Arrest, and Trespassing.

Cummings: People near the scene say officers pulled that man from a car and started beating him. Did this happen?
Chief: All of our officers are required to wear and activate their body cameras on duty and when working any part-time or overtime assignments where they are exercising their police powers.  Therefore, the entire contact with the suspect would have been captured on body worn camera.

Cummings: What led up to the man being put in handcuffs?
Chief: The information you are requesting is part of an ongoing investigation.

Cummings: How many total officers are involved?
Chief: Two officers were working at the apartment complex at the time of the incident.

Cummings: What are the names of the three officers who address the woman in the video? How many years have they been on the force? Have they ever been involved in any other disciplinary matters?
Chief: We will not be releasing the names of the officers involved in this incident at this time.  All disciplinary matters involving any employee with the City of Portsmouth is part of their personnel file and therefore will not be released.

Cummings: Where are the officers involved now? (on leave, administrative duty, fired?)
Chief: Both officers remain on full duty.

Cummings: How many body cameras have been pulled for review as part of this investigation?
Chief: All body camera footage has been pulled from every officer who was at or responded to the scene of the incident.

Cummings: Who will be investigating this situation? (internal, external, State police?)
Chief: The Portsmouth Police Department Professional Standards Unit will be conducting an administrative investigation into this video.

Cummings: One officer tells people in the video that they are “Unlawfully assembling” is that true based on this video?
Chief: § 18.2-406. What constitutes an unlawful assembly; punishment.
Whenever three or more persons assembled share the common intent to advance some lawful or unlawful purpose by the commission of an act or acts of unlawful force or violence likely to jeopardize seriously public safety, peace or order, and the assembly actually tends to inspire persons of ordinary courage with well-grounded fear of serious and immediate breaches of public safety, peace or order, then such assembly is an unlawful assembly. Every person who participates in any unlawful assembly shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. If any such person carried, at the time of his participation in an unlawful assembly, any firearm or other deadly or dangerous weapon, he shall be guilty of a Class 5 felony

Cummings: How close are citizens allowed to get to a police situation without being considered “interfering”? Were citizens interfering in this process based on this video?
Chief: It is advisable for all citizens to stand a safe distance from police officers who are taking someone into custody for their safety, the safety of the officer and anyone else involved.  We cannot give an exact distance as to what is safe as that would depend on numerous factors.   At this time this incident is under investigation and no further comment will be made.

WNCT-TV 9 On Your Side provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

1 thought on “Video: Virginia police launch investigation after video shows cops threatening witnesses

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s