2 North Carolina police officers on leave after video appears to show them punch man
Two North Carolina officers accused of beating a man during an arrest were placed on administrative leave, a police official said.
Part of the assault was captured on cell phone video and posted on Facebook. The footage appears to show an officer repeatedly punching a man, identified as David Lee Bruton Jr., as he was lying on the ground. A second officer joins in on the scuffle.
Kinston Police Chief Tim Dilday said the 17-second video captures the end of the arrest, which began just before 6:40 p.m. Monday at a restaurant on West Vernon Avenue.
“Upon arrival, officers discovered that there was an ongoing disturbance involving customers which rose to the level of an employee triggering the silent alarm to gain necessary, immediate assistance from law enforcement,” he said at a news conference Tuesday.
Several people were involved in the disturbance, but Bruton was said to be “the proximate cause” of it, Dilday said. According to a police incident report, Bruton, 36, allegedly threatened to slap a woman at the restaurant.
Officers attempted to detain Bruton, but he walked away and left the store, Dilday said. After he was found nearby, officers tried to arrest him again but he led them on a foot pursuit.
The incident report states that Bruton tripped and fell as he ran and was taken into custody on North Queen Street, where a witness in a car filmed video of his arrest. During the scuffle, he allegedly kicked one of the officers in the stomach, the report says.
Dilday said an investigation into the officers’ use of force began immediately and the incident is being “thoroughly investigated.”
The officers, identified by the department as McKinley Jones and Kevin Page, are on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, a standard procedure.
“I can assure you that we are doing all that we can,” Mayor Dontario Hardy said at the news conference.
Mayor Pro Tem Felicia Solomon said Monday’s incident adds to an ongoing nationwide discussion about police brutality.
“It is very clear that it is not just here in Lenoir County, in Kinston,” she said. “So, there’s no way that this can happen and occur in our own backyard without us doing a greater measure of work.”
Bruton was charged with intimidation, simple assault and disorderly conduct. His bond was set at $500. It’s not clear if he has obtained an attorney.
His mother, Cynthia Bruton, said that the officers need to face consequences for what happened.
“We are really grateful to God that he is alive,” she told the Free Press. “Because he could’ve been one of those taken out by police but he was not. Just looking at the video last night, one would have thought he was beaten to a pulp, but as far as we know, he’s OK.”