A man in Alabama was arrested and charged with attempted murder after pistol whipping a Birmingham police officer.
Janard Cunningham, 34, was identified as the man responsible for pistol whipping and beating an unnamed detective on Friday, just after 11 a.m.
The detective, dressed in plain clothes and driving an unmarked car, stopped Cunningham’s vehicle after believing it was connected to a string of burglaries in the area. Despite being told to remain in his vehicle until backup was called, Cunningham got out of the car and began to question the officer about why he was being stopped.
A fight quickly ensued, with Cunningham stealing the officer’s gun and hitting him in the head with it until he stopped moving. Additional officers soon responded, chasing Cunningham’s SUV.
The man and an accomplice were taken into custody, though the other suspect was not charged with any crime.
“This incident underscores the danger that our officers and others experience every day. I think about the recent murders of the Memphis and Shreveport police officers and recognize we too could have lost an officer today,” Birmingham police chief A.C. Roper said. “We ask the community to keep this officer and his family in your thoughts and prayers."
Cunningham, who has a criminal record dating back to 1999 that includes various assault and robbery charges, was charged with attempted murder in the beating.
Following the attack, photos surfaced on social media showing the officer lying face down on the pavement, covered in blood. Many mocked the incident in accompanying captions.
“He was laying there lifeless and people were standing around taking pictures,” Sgt. Heath Boackle said. “If the tables were turned, and that was a suspect lying there, they would be rioting."
The officer assaulted by Cunningham was released from the hospital on Friday evening, and is now recovering at home.