‘I was scared the officer was going to pull the trigger’: Video shows alleged police brutality after two brothers are pulled over in case of ‘racial profiling’
- Ryan and Benjamin Brown were stopped by Colorado Springs officers in March during a traffic stop
- The driver, Benjamin Brown, 23, is seen being handcuffed and patted down
- Ryan Brown, 31, is filming the incident and pulled from the passenger seat of the car before being pushed to the ground at gunpoint, his brother said
- Officer David Nelson was repeatedly asked by Ryan Brown why they were pulled over but the officer refused to answer during the video
- Ryan was ticketed for resisting and interference with a public official while Benjamin was ticketed for compulsory insurance and obstruction of view
- Both men will be represented by American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado and the legal director said incident appears to be a case of racial profiling
A video taken by a Colorado Springs man showing him and his brother being handcuffed during a traffic stop has become the subject of a Colorado Springs Police Department investigation.
The footage captured on a phone shows one of the African American brothers, 23-year-old Benjamin Brown being placed in handcuffs and patted down.
His brother, Ryan Brown, 31, who was filming the incident was pulled from the car before being pushed to the ground during the March 25 traffic stop.
Benjamin and Ryan Brown will be represented in cases resulting from the videotaped stop by the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, as the legal director said the incident appears to be a case of racial profiling and ‘over-aggressive, over-zealous policing’.
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In the footage captured by Ryan Brown, 31, on his cell phone, he and his brother Benjamin, 23, are put into handcuffs during the March traffic stop in an incident of alleged racial profiling and over-aggressive policing (above Ryan being forced to the ground by Officer David Nelson)
Benjamin Brown (above), the driver, was handcuffed before being patted down by Officer David Nelson
During the YouTube video, which was posted on March 26 and has been viewed more than 37,000 times to date, the officer refused to answer why the brothers were stopped and to identify himself.
‘My brother is being put into handcuffs and were being pulled over for no reason. He still has not identified why he has pulled us over,’ Ryan Brown says in the footage.
‘Now I’m being perceived as a threat because we’re being pulled over for absolutely no reason,’ he continues.
As he is pulled from the car and pushed to the ground he continues to record the video while being heard saying ‘Do you see this? You see this? Excessive force…’ before the video abruptly stops.
Police internal affairs investigators have completed the initial fact-finding after Ryan Brown filed a complaint and shared the footage with police, department spokeswoman Catherine Buckley told The Associated Press on Monday.
She said the supervisors of the officers involved, who remained on active duty, were now reviewing the case.
Ryan Brown was ticketed for resisting and interference with a public official while Benjamin Brown was ticketed for compulsory insurance and obstruction of view — a charge his brother believes is related to a cracked windshield.
‘How many young white men are stopped for a cracked windshield, pulled from the car at Taser-point and patted down and arrested?’ Mark Silverstein, ACLU of Colorado legal director, told AP.
The video posted on YouTube on March 26 shows Ryan Brown (left) telling the officer the incident was being filmed before focusing the camera on his brother (right) who was being handcuffed
After his brother was handcuffed, Nelson then went to Ryan Brown’s door when he is heard being asked again why they were pulled over
Silverstein said police must have a reason to search for weapons, and that Colorado Springs Police Department rules, like those of many other jurisdictions, require officers to explain why they are pulling someone over.
‘This looks to me like a case of racial profiling, a case of police investigating what African Americans call ‘driving while black”,’ Silverstein told to the Colorado Springs Gazette after watching the video and reading the police report.
In the footage, Benjamin Brown, who was driving, is patted down while in handcuffs and then Officer Allison Detwiler opens Ryan Brown’s passenger-side door before pulling him from the vehicle with Officer David Nelson’s help.
Benjamin Brown said he was sitting in the police car and watched the officers wrestle his brother to the ground at gunpoint.
Officer Allison Detwiler then opens the passenger side door and with the help of Nelson pulls him from the car. At the end of the video, one of the officers allegedly grabs the phone and stops the recording
‘I was scared that the officer was going to pull the trigger,’ he said.
In Nelson’s report, he said he had seen the car carrying the Browns earlier that day driving slowly in a ‘high crime area’, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.
The car had tinted windows, according to his report, and he wrote that he tried to turn around and conduct the traffic stop but the car ‘rapidly fled the area’.
Several fatal encounters with police across the nation have led to a focus on ubiquitous cellphone cameras as ways to document possible abuse.
Silverstein told AP such recordings are legal as long as those making them are not interfering with police, a point his organization has had to clarify often after officers have tried to stop such activity.
He added the ACLU would represent the Browns in Colorado Springs municipal court in cases resulting from the videotaped stop.
Police would not comment on the officers’ conduct, citing the ongoing investigation.
Ryan Brown told AP that had he not recorded a video, ‘I would have been convicted based on a police officer’s word,’ adding one of the officers took the cellphone away, stopped the recording and threw it in the snow.
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