A police department in Chesterfield County, Virginia, is fighting back against a viral video that depicts the violent arrest of a black man, saying the video fails to tell “the entire story.” The arrested man’s girlfriend posted the 1 minute, 23 second video to Twitter Tuesday, where it immediately went viral.
The video, which as of Thursday has more than 3.6 million views, shows 19-year-old Elkanah A. Odembo being yanked out of his car by an officer with Chesterfield County Police. Odembo is heard repeatedly asking his girlfriend, identified as Elizabeth Smith, to record the interaction with the officer.
Elkanah Odembo, 19, and an officer of the Chesterfield County Police engaged in a violent confrontation at Odembo’s home that ended with his arrest. Video captured by Odembo’s girlfriend of part of the incident has gone viral.Google Maps
“A cop follows us into my boyfriend’s driveway and claims it is because we have a brake light out,” a tweet on Odembo’s account stated. “The cop calls backup immediately. He proceeds to viciously pull him out of the car for absolutely no reason. I was forced to sit in the car until another cop came and detained me.”
Odembo told the officer that he is already at his home and asked why he was being detained.
“You got a brake light out,” the officer said to Odembo. “You’re not being cooperative.”
Smith pleaded with the officer and can be heard telling him that the couple is cooperating with him. The video shows the officer giving Odembo conflicting directions. He repeatedly attempted to force Odembo out of the car, but when asked by Smith why Odembo has to step out of the vehicle, the officer said, “Because he’s not cooperating with me, he keeps trying to get out of the vehicle.”
“No, he’s not, he’s sitting next to me,” Smith replies. Following a brief struggle, the officer yanked Odembo out of the car.
On Wednesday, Chesterfield County Police Chief Colonel Jeffrey Katz tweeted that the video failed to show the whole incident.
“Late last night, @conspiracypro tweeted about a traffic stop involving @CCPDVa. As most slept, that post went viral based upon the limited information provided. While an effective tweet, it falls short of telling the entire story. Facts matter. Sincerely appreciate your empathy,” Katz wrote.
In a statement to Newsweek, the Chesterfield Police Department said that it is still reviewing officer body-worn camera footage of the incident. The police department said that a preliminary review of the footage showed that the officer attempted to stop a vehicle near Hollow Wood Court and that the vehicle pulled into a driveway in the 3400 block.
“The officer told the driver he had been stopped because a tail light was out on the vehicle, and the officer had received information that the occupants of the vehicle had been gesturing and yelling things at a school bus,” the department’s statement said.
Odembo “continued to not cooperate with the officer, so the officer told the driver he was being detained.” The statement claims that Odembo resisted exiting the car, but then exited as the officer pulled him out.
Chesterfield Police said Odembo pushed “past the officer and fled around and then into the residence.” When the officer caught up to Odembo the two “engaged in a physical altercation as the driver resisted being taken into custody.”
The 19-year-old was tased and taken into custody. He was arrested and charged with assault on a law enforcement officer, three counts of obstruction of justice with force and defective equipment.
Odembo did not immediately respond to a request for comment. According to WTVR, the Chesterfield County Police chief has invited Odembo and his family to view the body cam footage of the arrest.