After a driver was caught on video being beaten and blooded by Raleigh police, the cops released a statement that acknowledges everything but the clear brutality shown in the video.
According to CBS17.com, a video went viral of Braily Batista being stopped by police officers. One of them proceeds to repeatedly knee and hit Batista while trying to force him out of the car. Eventually, a second cop arrives and helps forcefully remove Batista from the car and pin him down to the hard ground.
Batista said he doesn’t remember what led up to the police stop, however, he says the officers didn’t need to use force.
“I got stitches here and I got a black eye. I got a couple bruises on my cheeks, arms bruised up,” he told CBS17.com of the incident, which occurred on Tuesday.
The Raleigh Police Department released a statement about the incident saying, Batista was involved in a hit and run. “Before officers arrived on the scene the suspect vehicle fled the area and was involved in a second hit and run in a parking lot at St. Albans Drive and Wake Forest Road,” reads their statement.
“While fleeing the scene of the second collision the vehicle struck a pole at 4320 Wingate Drive. A short time later, an officer spotted a vehicle matching the description from the three earlier hit and run incidents driving erratically on Navaho Drive. The officer initiated a traffic stop and observed that the driver appeared to be impaired while transporting three passengers. When Mr. Batista-Concepcion ignored repeated commands to place his hands on the wheel, the officer ordered him to get out of the vehicle. Mr. Batista-Concepcion failed to follow the officer’s commands and officers used force to remove him from the vehicle.”
Batista argues that he wasn’t given a chance to follow the officers’ commands. “As soon as he came in the car he was being aggressive,” he said. “I was just like, ‘What’s going on, why are you doing that?’”
The viral video immediately sparked a backlash on social media with one Twitter user arguing, “This black person was violently attacked by @raleighpolice while he was peacefully sitting in his car just b/c somebody in the car was recording him. Do your thing twitter! These cops need to be fired!”
Raleigh cops said they’re reviewing the case, and they would petition to have the body camera and dash-camera video released.
Meanwhile, according to The News&Observer, Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman revealed on Thursday that she will not ask the State Bureau of Investigation to review the actions of the two cops involved in the incident. Freeman made her decision after reviewing the dashboard and body-camera footage with cops. “The SBI most commonly investigates the use of lethal force,” Freeman said.
Freeman stressed that her decision is not a judgment on whether excessive force was used, however, so she could still bring charges. She said she will wait on The Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards to conduct a criminal investigation to present Freeman with its findings. This is a standard procedure for all accusations of excessive force.
“This deserves a thorough review,” Freeman said. “I’m confident RPD can do that given the fact there is substantial video available.”
Activists, however, aren’t as confident. In a Thursday press conference, activists reiterated their call for an oversight board to monitor Raleigh police.
“We as a community, as citizens of Raleigh, as taxpayers will not continue to remain silent when there’s a continuous tsunami of brutality pounded on the very people that the Raleigh Police Department are sworn to protect and serve,” said activist Kerwin Pittman.