CRIME
10/24/2018 08:08 am ET

Police In Ohio Under Scrutiny After Video Shows Officers Punching Face-Down Man

An Akron police commander defended the officers: "Sometimes you do have to throw punches."

A man shown in a viral video being repeatedly punched by cops and shocked with a stun gun in Akron, Ohio, says he plans to sue the police department for what he claimed was excessive force.

“They started beating on me, wailing on me, kicked me in the ribs several times,” Patrick King told WEWS-TV, speaking from Summit County jail. “I can barely sit still right now. I’m having trouble just raising my spine.”

King, 47, was charged Saturday with tampering with evidence, resisting arrest, misrepresenting an identity, drug paraphernalia and drug abuse related to marijuana, Akron Beacon Journal reported. He also was held on a warrant from Cleveland for a parole violation from a previous burglary charge.

King said nothing he did justifies the officers’ actions. 

As a neighbor took video, several police officers hit King and shocked him with a stun gun. The video has been viewed more than 360,000 times.

The clip shows two officers struggling to pin King face-down on his stomach and using a stun gun on him. More officers soon arrive. One male officer straddles King’s legs and punches him at least 30 times with both fists. By the end of the video, almost a dozen officers were involved. 

“Why ya’ll tasing him?” onlookers are heard yelling. “Stop beating him like that!”

“That’s why people are scared of the police,” one woman is heard saying off-camera.

WARNING: Some viewers may find this video disturbing.

King said he had been chatting with a friend in his front yard when he was suddenly confronted by police. He admitted to lying to the officers about his identity, but said he hadn’t been doing anything wrong at the time.  

“They wanted to handcuff me and I didn’t want to be handcuffed and I said, ‘What for? What for?’ And, they got one handcuff on me and then threw me to the ground,” he said. 

“I hope you never get in that situation, but it seems like it’s become more and more of a police state,” King told WEWS.

Akron police said they’re investigating. But Deputy Police Chief Jesse Leeser defended the officers involved, and suggested the video didn’t show everything that occurred.

“What [people] see is a snippet of the interaction between the officers and the subject. They don’t see the full course of events,” Leeser told WKYC.com

“When the officers got one handcuff on him, he began fighting with them,” Leeser said, noting that King is 6-foot 4 and 220 pounds. “This was a very dangerous situation.”

The deputy chief added officers originally approached King after seeing him leave a “known drug house.” King denied that, and insisted he didn’t attack the officers. 

The neighbor who filmed the video said the officers had gone “too far.” 

“It was so messed up. He had grass and dirt in his mouth. There was blood running from his mouth,” the neighbor said of King. 

Leeser, however, said officers sometimes “have to throw punches.” 

“We’re trained on how to use strikes, because sometimes you do have to throw punches,” he said. “This wasn’t blows to the face or blows to the throat. These were blows to areas that aren’t going to cause real damage. The goal of these interactions is to end it as safely and as quickly as possible.”

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