A new video has emerged showing a Washington DC police officer punching a Black man 12 times during an arrest on August 8 while other officers did not step in to stop him from beating the man.
The officers also tried to keep a growing crowd away with an officer even drawing a gun on the crowd and telling them to back away, according to local broadcaster WTOP.
In the video, officers are seen surrounding the man identified as Kiman Johnson and grabbing his arms. While Johnson is being held, another officer repeatedly punches him in the face.
They then turn the man around and push him against the fence. The officer hitting Johnson then moves so that he can continue punching him in his face and head. At one point he even moves another officer aside so that he can continue throwing punches.
Following the release of the video on social media, Washington DC Metropolitan Police has come under fire.
During a press conference, the DC Metropolitan Chief Robert Contee said, “I am embarrassed, disturbed, disheartened and ashamed of what I've seen.”
“This is not the way we train our members to get illegal firearms off the streets,” Contee said.
The chief said he received the video from a resident, after which he ordered a probe into the incident.
The officer who punched the man has been put on administrative leave pending an internal investigation. The other officers were put on “no contact” duty, Washington City Paper reported.
Officers conducted a stop of Johnson suspecting that he had been selling drugs and was in possession of a firearm. He was then arrested and charged with carrying an illegal firearm. However, in an announcement on Monday, the US Attorney’s office said it had dropped all charges against the Black man.
Cities across the United States have been the scene of protests over police brutality and racial profiling against African Americans in recent years.
Meanwhile, the killing of George Floyd, an African-American man, in Minneapolis by a white police officer last year reignited debates about the scale of US police violence and discrimination against people of color.
On May 25, 2020, Floyd was choked to death after former white police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes.