Two South Carolina police officers are coming under fire after a video surfaced of them kicking and punching a man severely, prompting an internal investigation.
According to an incident report from the Spartanburg Police Department, law enforcement officials got a call Sunday of an alleged domestic spat between a man, the mother of his child and several other members of her family.
Terrell, 29, was arrested and charged with two counts of simple assault and trespassing after he refused to be patted down for weapons. Both officers are seen restraining Terrell and knocking him down to the ground.
Terrell told local daily Goupstate.com that he had no problems with the officers questioning him but felt they had no right to touch him.
“I’m very cooperative until they asked could they search me, which I used my Fourth Amendment right and said ‘No’ and that’s when they grab me,” said Terrell .
The video, uploaded on Facebook by a bystander who appears to be Terrell’s cousin, has already garnered nearly 19,000 views since Tuesday. Terrell, a resident of Washington D.C., said the case is now being privately investigated within the Spartanburg Police Department. Both officers involved remain on duty.
The report states that the officers allegedly saw a bulge in Terrell’s pocket and decided to pat him down in case he had weapons on him. One of the officers pulled on Terrell’s right arm, as he was yelling his knowledge of his rights. The report state that both officers told him to calm down, but he refused.
It was then when the cops tried to trip him to get Terrell on the ground but failed.
The report states one of the cops then decided to use his knee and struck Terrell in the chest multiple times and then again with his fist. The officer then used his knee to hit Terrell in the jaw twice to get him to comply and stay on the ground.
Despite Terrell’s views of the cops patting him down, that they were violating his rights, Maj. Art Littlejohn, a spokesman for the Spartanburg police department stands by the officers’ actions.
“They needed to make sure he didn’t have a gun,” said Littlejohn, adding that under the Fourth Amendment cops have the right to search someone if they have reasonable suspicion that he or she is armed and dangerous.
According to the report, one of the officers said he saw a metallic object in Terrell’s back pocket. In the video, Terrell is heard yelling multiple times, “I have nothing on me.”
The report also states that after the pat-down was over, all the cops found on Terrell was a wallet and a set of keys.
“If you have a call that’s involving weapons and a person won’t let you do a pat down to make sure they don’t have weapons, there’s a safety concern there, for the officers themselves,” Littlejohn said. “All the guy had to do is comply to make sure he didn’t have a weapon in his pocket.”
Terrell was taken to Spartanburg Medical Center before he was taken to jail for a bloody nose, the report read. One of the officers also had a bloody nose and a scrape on his right arm.