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Alexandria police officer arrested for unjustified use of force

Officer Jonathan Griffin allegedly took a handcuffed person to the ground by using force, which reportedly caused multiple injuries.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — An officer in the Alexandria Police Department has been arrested for unjustified use of force. 

Alexandria Police released a statement saying that officer Jonathan B. Griffin was arrested on June 30 and charged with misdemeanor assault and battery because of a confrontation he had with a person he was taking to have a health evaluation.

Griffin allegedly took the handcuffed person to the ground by using force, causing multiple injuries. 

The investigation into the January 27, 2020 incident found that Griffin should not have used force in that situation, according to Alexandria Police.

Griffin was placed on administrative leave on June 3, with his police powers suspended. He was reportedly notified on June 26 that he had lost his job with the department and that charges against him were sent to the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office. 

He is on bail, which is standard procedure for misdemeanor charges, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on jails. 

Jails and court systems across the United States have released low-risk offenders because of the virus's impacts on its population.

In addition to the officer, the department says three supervisors who failed to investigate the case quickly enough have been disciplined. 

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“Use of force is dehumanizing and should be avoided whenever possible, even when legally justified,” Chief of Police Michael Brown said. “Unjustified use of force is completely unacceptable, and we will continue to hold officers accountable in the rare cases when violations of this policy occur. Alexandria police officers do not typically use force at all, because they are required to de-escalate interactions and situations when possible by communicating effectively with subjects, maintaining distance, and employing other measures to protect themselves and those around them.” 

Alexandria police officers have used force against 37 subjects in 2019 and 2020, out of more than 5,500 individuals taken into custody. These 37 subjects represented approximately 0.7% of those taken into custody, or 1 in 150, following nearly 111,000 calls for service. 

Firearms were only used by officers in one of the 37 cases, and most uses of force did not involve officers’ weapons at all.

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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