Two police officers and a firefighter in Aspen, Colorado, were caught on video subduing a 16-year-old student who was allegedly smoking a marijuana cigarette last Friday.
Several videos of the incident were filmed by other students; one of those videos (below) was uploaded to YouTube.
According to the Aspen Police Department, the student was seen by an officer rolling a marijuana joint at a public bus stop that is close to a recreation center and school.
The student allegedly tried to hide the joint, and the officer made an unsuccessful effort to place him under arrest, noted Fox 31 Denver. The cop then called for back up.
When the video begins, the student is being pulled out of the bus stop by the officer, an off-duty cop and firefighter who force him to the ground. Several students can be heard screaming obscenities at the men for being too rough with the boy.
However, Aspen Police Department Chief Richard Pryor defended the pain compliance techniques that were used.
“It’s open-and-shut because we have the videos, we’re able to see the actions that took place and we’re able to explain all of those actions,” Chief Pryor told the The Aspen Times. “We appreciate this is an unusual set of circumstances for people to view and it’s challenging for people to see these kind of images.”
“None of us want this to occur, but it’s the nature of the business we’re in," added Chief Pryor.
The student was been charged with marijuana possession and resisting arrest misdemeanors.
Several students told The Aspen Times in an email:
“Many members of the Aspen community are outraged by the events that happened on Friday afternoon. If (you) ask any person who witnessed the event (they) will tell that it was a complete and total example of police brutality. I’m sure what the (Police Department) forgot to mention was that the policeman didn’t tell him he was being arrested or read the teen his rights. The teenager did not in any way show violence to the police officer. When someone is being handcuffed and they are not informed ... you could understand why he moved his hand away, and that’s all he did, and that’s when things got bad.”
While recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado as of Jan. 1, residents under age 21 are not allowed to smoke pot.
"I would say that almost 100 percent of the citations we've issued are complaint-driven; we're not sending people out, people are calling and asking us to come in," Denver Police Cmdr. Matt Murray told the Denver Post in December 2014. "It's not a case of us trying to defend our turf."
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