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Lawyers for man punched by DC Police in viral video want officers fired

A 45-second clip shows four officers surrounding a man pinned up against a fence by three of the officers.

WASHINGTON — The lawyers and family of a 23-year-old man restrained and repeatedly punched in the face by officers with the Metropolitan Police Department in a viral video spoke out on Friday. 

Kiman Johnson retained the services of Bakari Sellers, Harry Daniels and Chance Lynch on Thursday after a bystander video of the incident went viral earlier this week. 

Johnson was scheduled to speak during the press conference but his attorneys said he admitted himself to the emergency room due to headaches sustained from the punches. Johnson's lawyers said he sustained multiple facial fractures and will likely have to undergo surgery after being punched 12 times. 

"The execution of the arrest was an excessive and unlawful use of force," Daniels said. 

The 45-second clip, from an incident on Aug. 8, shows Johnson pinned up against a fence by three officers in the 1500 block of U Street in Southeast. An officer facing Johnson proceeds to punch him approximately 13 times in the face and body while the 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!"

Despite Sellers giving kudos to the chief and mayor for taking action, he demanded the police department terminate the officers as a way to hold them accountable. 

"We are grateful he's alive but how many times does this have to happen?" Daniels questioned. 

Warning: This video contains graphic content. Please be advised. 

MPD Chief Robert Contee said three officers are under criminal investigation after the video surfaced on Monday.

“I have watched this video. I am embarrassed, disheartened and ashamed, of what I’ve seen,” Contee said in a press conference Monday. “We are an agency of more than 3,500 officers, and I assure the community this is not consistent with our training, our tactics, our policies, procedures, nor is it consistent with our agency’s values.”  

Contee said Johnson's arrest was initiated after officers witnessed a drug transaction and that during a pat-down officers felt a gun. The chief said an illegal gun was confiscated during the interaction.  He was released from custody Monday and all charges against him were dropped.

The 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."

"I am extremely upset," cousin Angela Johnson said. "I want to see justice for my cousin. He didn't deserve this at all." 

Contee has revoked police powers from the three officers involved and placed them on a non-contact duty. Their cases have been referred to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The family plans to file a lawsuit for monetary compensation. 

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