Tuscaloosa Police Chief Condemns Language, Threats Used in Viral Video Arrest
The Tuscaloosa Police Department's Chief Steve Anderson held a press conference Wednesday morning to condemn the language and threats two of his officers used during an arrest conducted Friday, April 19th.
The trouble started when a woman, Jhasmynn Sheppard, was pulled over after she allegedly left the scene of an accident.
A TPD officer almost immediately asked Sheppard to get out of the car and started to cuff her hands behind her back when the woman began resisting, asking why she was being arrested.
The tussle went to the ground, and a second TPD officer rushed in to assist the first. The trio struggled for some time, and one of the officers struck Sheppard once with a collapsible asp baton before they were able to cuff her and get her in the back of a patrol car.
Customers in a nearby store caught some of the arrest on video, and the clip went viral, reaching tens of thousands of people since it was uploaded Friday.
Chief Anderson said when he saw the video on social media, he did not originally believe his officers used excessive force, but decided to pull their body cam footage for a closer investigation.
In that recording, included below, you can hear the officers swear at the woman and threaten at times to break her arm, knock out all her teeth and "put my gun in the back of your noggin and make you obey."
Anderson said the officers used language and threats that were offensive, unprofessional and not representative of their training and expectations at the Tuscaloosa Police Department.
He said the two officers involved have been taken off patrol duty and assigned to desk jobs while their conduct during the arrest is investigated. He also said he is in talks with the city attorney to determine if Sheppard, who was charged with disarming a police officer, second-degree assault and resisting arrest, might have some of those charges dismissed.
Watch the chief's press conference and the body cam video of the arrest below. Be warned, the body cam video contains offensive language and some violence.