MPD: Appropriate amount of force used in recorded arrest




  • In US
  • 2023-02-07 03:33:00Z
  • By The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va.

Feb. 6-A video posted to social media over the weekend depicting what appears to be a police officer in downtown Morgantown slamming a man's head into the cement has many asking - was that necessary ?

The video raised concerns from the community as well as city officials.

Morgantown City Councilman Brian Butcher said it was concerning because it looked like "an excessive use of force " and didn't seem like the "appropriate way to handle the situation." He saw the video and spoke with the victim.

WVU Executive Director of Communications April Kaull said a review will be conducted, but they don't believe a university police officer was at fault.

"At this time, the university does not believe a University Police officer was involved in the actions shown in the short video clip provided, " Kaull said Monday.

"A UPD officer, who was several feet away at the scene, later assisted Morgantown Police officers with de-escalating the situation. A thorough review of the situation will be conducted and shared with the University Public Safety Committee, " she said.

Morgantown Police did not identify the officers but confirmed he was with the city department. A press release was issued Monday afternoon, explaining the circumstances that took place prior to the video starting. The release said the incident was reviewed and, at this time, department leaders "believe that the officer used the appropriate amount of physical force to gain control of the suspect."

The video, which is only about 10 seconds in length, begins with two uniformed police officers speaking with a man, who MPD identified as Massinissa Belkadi, 20, of Stafford, Va., seated on stairs outside of what appears to be the Chipotle Mexican Grill on High Street. The video does not show what led to the officers talking to the man or the force.

According to the release, MPD responded to a reported domestic violence incident, allegedly involving Belkadi, at Fat Daddy's Bar & Grill at approximately 11:55 p.m. on Feb. 2.

Callers to 911 reported that "a male was attempting to drag his ex-girlfriend out of the bar against her will." Officers found the suspect, Belkadi, nearby.

Through the muffled audio of the video, one officer could be heard telling Belkadi to get up from the stairs several times before the video briefly pans away. When the suspect and officers reappear, Belkadi is standing.

The video then shows Belkadi being spun around by an officer before both men fall to the ground - Belkadi going face-first onto the cement.

MPD said Belkadi was uncooperative with the officer and refused to answer the officer or comply with his requests. After several moments of refusal to engage with the officer, Belkadi was asked to stand up, which he also refused to do.

The video does not show what happens next, but according to MPD, the officer then Belkadi from his seated position and attempted to place his hands behind his back to be handcuffed.

Police said Belkadi then resisted the officer by grabbing the officer's arm and attempting to turn back toward the officer.

"The officer responded to Belkadi's resistance by taking him to the ground, where he could be safely controlled and handcuffed, " the release said.

According to MPD, "when an officer uses any type of force, it is recorded and reviewed by the deputy chief to determine if any policy was violated. This includes looking at the incident circumstances and reviewing any body cam footage."

Upon review of the entire incident, MPD determined the officer did not use excessive force. The release reads: "the officer was within his rights to request information from a suspect in a potential domestic violence incident and the suspect's refusal to cooperate to the point of offering physical resistance to the officer's attempt to place him into custody."

Belkadi sustained an abrasion to his cheekbone and forehead as a result of the incident. According to the release, Mon EMS responded to evaluate and treat Belkadi, but he denied any further medical treatment.

Belkadi was charged with obstructing an officer, disorderly conduct and public intoxication for the incident with the officer.

The investigation into the domestic violence incident Belkadi was allegedly involved in is ongoing.

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