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'Totally unacceptable' | Community responds to video showing use of force by DC Police

"There is no doubt MPD officers used excessive force to make an arrest," Councilmember White said.

WASHINGTON — A council member is calling for action from the Metropolitan Police Department after a video made its rounds on social media showing officers using 'excessive force' when arresting two people in Southeast D.C. Thursday evening.

DC Police told WUSA9 that they are aware of the video that shows the use of force incident.

"We became aware of the incident when our officers reported the use of force from the scene and we were contacted by multiple community members," a spokesperson with DC Police said. "The investigation into the totality of the incident is currently underway."

The incident happened on Stanton Road Southeast, nearby Savannah Street Southeast, after responding to a report of gunshots being heard in the area around 9:30 p.m. While officers were in the area, they located an unoccupied vehicle, later confirmed to be stolen, with a visible gun shell casing inside, according to the police department.

While officers were searching the vehicle, a group of people approached the officers. Police said a man amongst the group threatened to 'smack' a woman officer, in response, an officer then pushed the man against a fence and took him into custody. In the video of the incident, the man could be seen being bent over the fencing during the process.

The police department said after an additional review of body-worn camera footage, another person could be seen assaulting and strangling officers. That person was taken to the ground and into custody at the scene.

Both of the people who were taken into custody were also transported to a local hospital for medical evaluation and have been since released back into police custody.

Police say the investigation into the incident remains ongoing, and the use of force incident is under review by MPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau.

D.C. Councilmember Trayon White held a press conference Friday afternoon to talk about the incident with family members of the people who were taken into custody.

"There is no doubt MPD officers used excessive force to make an arrest," White said ahead of the presser. He continued by saying that one of the men in the incident was slammed against the fence before being thrown to the ground and then kicked.

White said he has talked to MPD Police Chief Robert Contee and after the release of the statement from the police department, he still does not fully agree with the incident. There is no reason for the amount of force shown in the video, he said.

The councilmember disclaimed that he did not have prior knowledge of what happened leading up to the incident and he does understand why the officers were responding to the incident - gunfire in the community. 

"I will state some of the facts as I know it, this incident was totally unacceptable on so many levels. You can clearly see an aggressive use of police force through the video," White said. 


Watch Next: Report: 91% of DC Police use of force incidents were against Black people

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