Duluth PD reviewing video of use-of-force incident circulating on social media

The arrest of a 21-year-old was recorded by video on Saturday.

Police are reviewing body-worn camera and dash cam video after a use-of-force incident in Duluth over the weekend that was shared widely on social media. 

The incident unfolded around 10:30 a.m. Saturday as officers stopped a 31-year-old driver of a 2004 Ford Mustang.

During the traffic stop, Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken says officers found that the driver had a revoked license, while also recognizing a passenger in the car as a 21-year-old man who had "active violation of probation warrants" for a series of accusations, including felony possession of a short-barreled shotgun, felony fleeing police officers in a motor vehicle, and misdemeanor domestic assault.

Police were also alerted to "recent information" that the man could be in possession of a handgun. 

Tusken said officers informed the 21-year-old that he was under arrest, at which point he claims the suspect "began actively resisting." It's at that point that the incident was caught on video and posted to social media.

The video, which can be found here, shows the man yelling at the three officers to "let me go" as he's being forcefully restrained across the front passenger and driver's seats in the car. 

In the video, the officers are heard repeatedly telling the man to "put your hands behind your back" and "stop resisting." One officer can be seen holding the back of the man's neck with two hands, and later in the video the same officer appears to use both hands to press down on the back of the man's head. 

"Get off of me," the man shouts. 

"You're going to get sprayed next," an officer responds. 

The man being restrained also yells that he can't breathe multiple times. 

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"I didn't do anything. You guys started putting your hands on me," the 21-year-old says as two officers attempt to pull him from the vehicle. The officer responds: "Stop resisting. You're under arrest, how many times have we told you that?"

At one point, the woman taking the video is heard accusing an officer of pressing his knee on the man's neck, though it's hard to tell from the video whether that is happening. The use of chokeholds and neck restraints by police has been banned in a statewide police reform bill signed last week in the wake of George Floyd's death, although the new police laws don't come into effect until Aug. 1. 

The 21-year-old was eventually taken into custody. He was medically cleared and booked into the St. Louis County Jail on his warrants, while also being cited for obstructing the legal process.

"A portion of this incident was recorded and is circulating on social media. We are currently conducting a Use of Force Review on policy, tactics, and training which includes analyzing body worn and vehicle camera footage and reviewing police reports. We will provide an update once our review is complete," said Tusken.

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