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Bodycam footage released from arrest of man punched by police

Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee said a viral video of the arrest left him feeling embarrassed, disheartened and ashamed.

WASHINGTON — Police released body camera footage of the arrest of 23-year-old Kiman Johnson Wednesday evening. DC Police Chief Robert Contee said Johnson's arrest was initiated after officers witnessed a drug transaction and that during a pat-down officers felt a gun.  

The video starts with an officer approaching the suspect along with two other officers. One of the officers appears to say "you are about to get dropped" and another officer is recorded saying "you're about to get OC sprayed." Another officer appears to say "stop it" and then begins swinging. 

The video appears to show one of the unidentified officers punching Johnson while yelling "give up."

The video can be viewed in full by clicking here.

Attorney Harry Daniels said the video proved how unlawful the officers' actions were.

"In the video, you can't tell what he gave to him, as you know in the District you can give up to an ounce of marijuana," Daniels said. "There's no drugs found. I believe a stop was not justified, it's unconstitutional."

Johnson was originally charged with Assault on a Police Officer While Armed, Carrying a Pistol Without a License, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Unlawful Possession of Ammunition and Resisting Arrest.

The U.S. Attorney's Office dropped the charges against Johnson. Attorneys stressed that alone meant their client was not in the wrong.

"Whether you did it, didn't do it, suspect, alleged, reasonable suspicion or probable cause, the reality is police officers are trained in a particular matter to handle escalated situations and that did not happen appropriately under these circumstances," attorney Dionna Maria Lewis added.

Johnson was arrested by Metropolitan Police on August 8 in the 1500 block of U Street in Southeast around 5:30 p.m. A 45-second video of the arrest, shot by a bystander, showed officers pinning Johnson against a fence and one of the officers punching Johnson approximately 13 times in the face and body while other officers put him in handcuffs. 

You can hear a bystander yelling at the officers during the incident, "Aye moe! Why you punching him?! Why you punching him?" several times. One of the officers replied saying, "We're trying to put him in cuffs!" 

Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee said the video left him feeling embarrassed, disheartened and ashamed.

"We have a responsibility on the way we treat the community and we didn't do that," Contee said. "This is not how we train our members to get illegal firearms off the streets."

Lawyers and Johnson's family dispute the information released on how there was a drug transaction based on the lack of charges.

"My brother is not a criminal and he's not a drug dealer," sister Kimani Johnson said. "He's a simple human being. What happened was unacceptable."

Johnson's lawyers said he sustained multiple facial fractures and will likely have to undergo surgery after being punched 12 times.

The incident will be reported next to the U.S. Attorney's Office for review, and all three officers have been put on non-contact status, Contee said. He added D.C. Police will also start their own investigation, too.

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