TEMPE, Ariz. — A Tempe police officer has come under scrutiny of whether he may have used excessive force while detaining a suspect this week.
A Wednesday afternoon video from The Real Estate Brokers office at 514 S. Mill Avenue shows police making contact with a man lying on the sidewalk out front of the store.
The situation appears to escalate and a struggle ensues as the officer attempts to detain the man. The video, captured from a live webcam that is placed at the front of the store, then appears to show the officer punching the man in the face several times.
“I was shocked,” said storeowner Joseph Lewis. “It’s difficult to watch.”
Lewis said the shop has three webcams that stream video live on the Internet as a way for people to see what is happening live on Mill Avenue at any given time.
“People come on Mill Avenue and have their friend’s sitting at home … and actually wave to their friends,” said store owner Joseph Lewis. “It is kind of fun.”
One of the cameras captured the entire ordeal between police and the suspect.
The actions of the officer seen on video are raising questions of whether he was justified in allegedly striking the man while trying to detain him.
Lewis said he has heard reports that the suspect may have had an open container of beer, may have been intoxicated and had possibly even kicked the officer in the face, though the angle of the video makes it difficult to confirm these details.
The video posted online has begun to attract a lot of views and Lewis said he hopes people will not jump to conclusion about the officer or suspect.
“I think I was a little guilty myself of perhaps jumping to a conclusion that may not have necessarily been the right conclusion,” he said. “I’m glad that I looked at it a few times and did some more investigation into exactly what had happened versus jumping to conclusion in a (one)-minute video where a lot is happening.”
Lewis said he turned over the tape to Tempe police, who confirmed to KTAR that it is reviewing the incident but has not released any further details, including the identities of the officer and suspect.
*Video courtesy of TempeThoughts.com