Pittsburgh Police Caught On Video Beating Black Man

| by Michael Allen

A video recently surfaced of two police officers beating Lonnie Jenkins in a hallway at the Renewal Halfway House in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Aug. 27, 2014.

In the video (below), which does not have audio, the officers approached Jenkins, slammed him against a wall and repeatedly beat him with their batons.

“It’s an assault by these officers of the law, and it’s disgusting,” Jenkins' attorney Scott Wescott told WPXI.

“[Jenkins did) nothing whatsoever, and as you can see by the video, the only time he engaged the police at all was in a total defensive posture,” added Wescott.

According to Wescott, Jenkins was staying at the halfway house after being released from jail on drug charges.

However, Doug Williams, the CEO of the halfway house, claimed that Jenkins refused to be searched for drugs.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes that Officer Brian Wissner wrote in his report that Jenkins was told to put his hands behind his back, but Jenkins lunged "suddenly and aggressively" so [Officer Brian Wissner] "shoved" Jenkins into the wall.

However, the video appears to show Officer Wissner lunging at Jenkins and slamming him into the wall.

Officer Wissner claims that Jenkins' right hand was in a closed fist "in an attempt to punch me,” but was prevented from doing so by Officer James Zigarella.

“There are times when officers have to use force to take people into custody, and there are times, unfortunately, when it doesn’t look good, but it's the nature of it sometimes,” Pittsburgh Police Cmdr. Eric Holmes told WPXI.

After being beat by the officers, Jenkins was charged with aggravated assault, drug possession and resisting arrest, however, the aggravated assault charge was dropped.

Jenkins is planning to file a civil lawsuit against the police, according to Wescott.

"The use of force, we’re looking at very closely,” Beth Pittinger, director of the Citizens’ Police Review Board, told WTAE. “I mean, at one point, I think an officer used his baton nine times to hit the complainant here, this gentleman that’s the subject of the video, and we’re not quite sure why, what justified that."

Pittsburgh's Office of Municipal Investigations is also looking into the incident.

Sources: WPXI, WTAE, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Image Credit: WPXI Screenshot