Warrior Police Chief responds to controversial video showing officers punching man

Warrior Police respond to video showing officers punching suspect
Warrior Police respond to video showing officers punching suspect
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 9:52 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2023 at 11:20 AM CDT
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HAYDEN, Ala. (WBRC) - A recently surfaced video capturing police officers punching a man while he lay on the ground has sparked concerns among the community. The footage, sent by an anonymous viewer, has prompted an internal investigation into the conduct of the Warrior police officers captured in the video.

Chief Scott Praytor of the Warrior Police Department watched the video for the first time from a WBRC FOX6 News truck and acknowledged that the footage does not present a favorable image. However, Chief Praytor emphasized that the video alone does not provide the complete context of the incident.

“I know what the video looks like,” Chief Praytor stated, acknowledging the officers’ actions captured on the cellphone footage. “It looks like there’s some officers throwing some punches, which is what’s happening.”

Chief Praytor went on to explain that there is more to the story than what initially meets the eye. According to his account, the incident occurred during a high-speed chase on Saturday, June 3, possibly involving a kidnapping and sexual assault suspect. The pursuit came to an end on Highway 160 in Hayden. The officers seen in the video were allegedly pursuing the suspect on foot when they tackled him, resulting in both of them falling to the ground.

A second officer was close behind. He fell near the pair and began to appear to hit the suspect along with the first officer who tackled him.

Two other officers from other agencies were on the scene as well. They were not seen on the video hitting the alleged suspect.

The suspect, who was reportedly armed, allegedly resisted arrest and according to Praytor, refused to place his arms behind his back. Chief Praytor justified the officers’ actions, stating, “when they get there and cannot get his arms out from under him, they are having to do what they can to get his arms out from under him without using lethal force. Once they are able to do that, they handcuff him, and the incident is over. That is what we believe this to be.”

Regarding the punching incident, Chief Praytor mentioned that he would review the body camera footage to corroborate his officers’ account. He stated that if any protocol violations were discovered, he would take appropriate action, including termination.

As of now, the identity of the man involved in the incident remains unknown, and efforts are underway to identify him. The viewer who shared the video wishes to remain anonymous and possesses no additional details about the arrest, having merely captured the incident while passing by.

WBRC has also requested access to the body camera footage in order to further investigate the matter. Chief Praytor maintains that, based on his initial examination, his officers did not act improperly during the arrest.

We will continue to monitor this developing story and provide the latest updates as they become available.

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