A family in Rainbow City, Alabama claimed on Facebook (see below) that their loved one was abused, tased and thrown off a bridge Thursday night after a traffic stop. Oops! That was until the camera footage disputing all of it, as was released by the police department.
The family claimed that police “beat him to death.”…Until the police department released the video:
Chief Jonathon Horton posted the following statement on the department’s Facebook page late Friday night in response to the abuse claims:
In response to the “Social Media Craze” and false allegations that Rainbow City Police Officers would mistreat any citizen (Law abiding or Suspect) I have uploaded this video to discredit the horrendous allegations that on July 13, 2017 that Rainbow City Police threw anyone from a bridge on Black Creek Parkway or in any way did anything other than carry out our duties to the extent of rendering what aid we could to a fleeing suspect.
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED:
Rainbow City Police have responded to a viral Facebook post accusing officers of beating a man during a traffic stop Thursday night. The post, which had been shared 28,600 times as of early Friday evening, claimed officers beat, use a stun gun and pushed a man off a bridge around 10 p.m. WARNING! GRAPHIC PHOTO!
The post, which has been shared 28,600 times as of early Friday evening, claims officers beat, use a stun gun and pushed a man off a bridge around 10 p.m. The post says the man was taken to a Gadsden hospital and airlifted to UAB Hospital, but next of kin was not notified. Photos of the man in a hospital bed with a bloody mouth were also posted.
Chief Jonathon 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.
When the officer tried to look up the passenger’s information, nothing popped up, Horton said. Horton said the passenger then produced an Alabama license, but the passenger did not look like the person in the photo. The passenger told the officer he lost a lot of weight while he was in jail, 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.
The officer then went back to the car to talk to the individual. Horton said the passenger seemed calm during the conversation until 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.
Horton said the man then took off his pants while attempting to jump into the river. An officer went below the bridge to find the man. Horton said the man continued to run from police and did not show his hands. An officer used a stun gun on the man, at which point he stopped running.
Horton said it looks like the injuries shown in the photos online were results from the 19-foot fall.
“He jumped off the bridge,” Horton said. “There wasn’t any physical contact (between him and the officer) other than him being Tased.”
The video shows officers giving aide to the man before he was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Horton said charges are pending against the individual.