Police review use of force at Shamrock the Block

A YouTube video has prompted a review after Police used force while making arrests.

The Richmond Police Department has started reviewing the use of force by officers during this past Saturday’s Shamrock the Block festival after video of the incident was uploaded to YouTube.

“Though I cannot comment on the specifics of this incident, the public should rest assured that our officers are well-trained and that all use of force incidents are reviewed by Department supervisors to ensure the officers acted appropriately,” Major Scott Booth said in a statement released this afternoon.

Five misdemeanor arrests were made during the entirety of Shamrock the Block, four of which were connected to the incident captured in the video.

In a phone interview with RVANews, Maj. Booth said, “Whenever force is used…it goes through several layers of supervisory oversight.” In this instance, he said the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, as well as Internal Affairs, will review the matter.

Among items being reviewed are the actions of individual officers, whether policies and procedures were properly followed, and if enough officers were assigned to work Shamrock the Block, which drew roughly 30,000 people last year (Booth said 17 officers patrolled this year’s event).

Booth said that the officers involved remain on regular duty.

“We can’t pass judgement on the officers” based solely on what’s in the video, Booth said. “Several fights had broken out” before the video was taken, he said, an aspect that may have influenced how the officers responded.

But he affirmed that the Department wants to ensure “our officers are acting appropriately.”

It’s unknown when the review will be completed.

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Nathan Cushing

Nathan Cushing is a writer, journalist, and RVANews Editor.

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. downtown-watch on said:

    The RPD should not be using their twitter account to “thank” supporters when an investigation is supposedly underway:
    ….. ‏@MzInvestigator: @RichmondPolice I saw the video and I think the officers were in a bad position & outnumbered. They used restraint & did the best they could
    @mzinvestigator Thank you

  2. Eric on said:

    That looks pretty bad. The guy in the white shirt was running his mouth and annoying the cops but he wasn’t violent or presenting a physical threat. The bald black cop looks like he snapped and assaulted the guy in the white shirt. You can hear the guy yelling for them to stop yet when he tries to defend himself they only beat and choke him more. Doesn’t look very good.

  3. sigh on said:

    I agree @Eric. The guy in the white shirt merely laid a hand on the cop’s shoulder while drunkenly and aggresively yelling, and cop immediately throat-punches him and chokes him against a wall? Not exactly a warranted response in my humble opinion. The bald white cop randomly beating the guy’s knee when he’s already down at 4:02 doesn’t really inspire me to believe they believed they were acting appropriately.. more like acting emotionally and attempting to exact a bit of revenge. I don’t think that being outnumbered and overwhelmed can explain a lot of what can be seen in that video, other than the officers’ frustration and why they may have lost their tempers and acted inappropriately. I do not think it excuses excessive force. There ought to be stricter enforcement of the limitation of the use of force by police. Our justice system should be acting as an example of how citizens are expected to behave, as they are the enforcers. Letting an incident like this slide, and having the RCPD state that their actions were “appropriate” will only lead its officers to think that this kind of behavior is ok and will be tolerated in the future, therefore perpetuating it.

  4. schlep on said:

    Events like Shamrock the Block are why Richmond is not allowed to have nice things.

  5. I realize I’m being an armchair analyst here but it sounded more to me like during the “choke against the wall” grapple they BOTH (not just the cop) engaged in, the cop was asking the citizen to stop and the citizen was yelling “you stop” like this:

    Cop: Stop!
    Citizen: You Stop!
    Cop: Stop!
    Citizen: You Stop!

    ALSO: At 3:12 and 3:26 it looks like the Citizen is grabbing at the belt of TWO different cops. That’s not a defensive tactic. BOTH times he grabs for the side of the belt that has the gun on it. Am I the only one who saw this? Watch the first bald cop moves his hand to protect his sidearm at 3:12 right before the guy rolls him over, and at 3:26 the officer with the billy club has to grab the citizen’s hand to keep him from reaching closer to his weapon.

    That to me is when it goes from yeah, maybe the police were heavy handed to “that person could have been very dangerous” and “resisting arrest”.

    I don’t agree with the first officers first move or hitting the citizen on the legs with the billy club when he was down but I saw that guy as a potential major threat once he started grabbing at the police officers’ belts. Both parties were in the wrong but compare that video to say, an over-the-top display at an occupy (wherever) protest and you’ll see the difference between the brutal tactics used on peaceful protesters and a bunch of out-of-control drunks at a street festival.

  6. Roger Talbott on said:

    I’ll say this, as a private citizen, if I was doing my job/minding my own business and that dude in the white shirt put his hands on me, I would feel in my rights to get physical. I watch a lot of use of force videos because I feel like police are out of control in this society, and I don’t feel at all like THIS cop was particularly out of line, at all. If your drunk ass puts your hands on a cop during a lawful arrest then guess what, that shit isn’t going to skate, and the cop shouldn’t be obligated to be cool about it. Simple rule, don’t touch cops while they’re making an arrest in the middle of a drunk crowd. That really doesn’t seem unreasonable. This video is nothing like some of the other examples of brutality and excessive force. This is an example of that sometimes bros get what they ask for.

  7. voice in the wilderness on said:

    Roger, your cop apologist diatribe is cute and all, but I think the daily RPD circle jerk is down at Byrd Park. These officers are supposed to have training to de-escalate situations such as these, instead they respond like common thugs and degenerates. Richmond’s finest, my @$$. Their response is nothing short of state sanctioned terrorism. Where’s Christopher Dorner when you need him?

  8. scott on said:

    Seems to me like this guy was being a bit of an ass, but the police stepped it up and took the situation to the next level for what seems like little to no reason. Usually when you’re hitting someone and they feel like they are being assaulted for no reason, they tend to resist.
    So these officers started a dangerous situation, and then continually increased the level of violence on their own accord.

  9. Roger Talbott on said:

    I bet I hate cops more than you, Voice In The Wilderness, if that is your real name. Since you’re such a police procedure expert why don’t you explain what those deescalation techniques might be beyond physically subduing the person being arrested? State sponsored terrorism? Why don’t you take your BS, sloppy, George Bush “as long as it suits my purpose” definition of ‘terrorism’ and reconsider it. If these were peaceful protesters getting maced for exercising their rights in support of an important cause that would be one thing, but this is just some drunk bro at some shitty rock show who thinks he can put is hands on a cop without consequence. It pisses me off that people are trying drum this up into some bogus brutality thing when there are actual real examples of police using excessive force that actually deserve our attention happening every day.

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