Local News

Raleigh police video shows before, after of arrest video that went viral

Posted January 17, 2020 1:31 p.m. EST
Updated January 17, 2020 10:44 p.m. EST

— The Raleigh Police Department released dash and body camera video Friday afternoon to show more angles and detail of an incident that went viral earlier in the week.

In the longest clip, a panoramic look, a patrol car trails the suspect car, which has the back window broken out – police say the back glass was busted out from a crash into a pole.

The white Honda swerves down a street before eventually pulling over.

The driver of the car, 22-year-old Braily Andres Batista-Concepcion, was a suspect in three hit-and-run crashes Tuesday morning and was driving erratically when he was pulled over, police have said.

In the video, an officer approaches the vehicle, opens the driver's door and speaks to those inside for about 10 seconds.

Batista-Concepcion seems calm, a cigarette in his mouth, folding money in his hands.

The officer reaches in and grabs at the driver, then punches and knees Batista-Concepcion.

In a body camera clip, the officer can be heard asking the driver to turn off the vehicle three times, to put his hands on the steering wheel four times, to get out the vehicle 14 times.

Police had said Batista-Concepcion ignored the officer's commands before the officer kneed and yanked on him.

After a second officer arrived, the pair pulled him from the car. After the officers took Batista-Concepcion to the ground outside the car, the video captured by the suspect's passenger shows the second officer kneeing him in the back at least twice to get him over onto his stomach to handcuff him.

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said Friday that her office will review the incident and all related video.

"It is an important distinction to make between whether an incident is a criminal offense – the conduct of the officer constitutes a criminal offense – and whether it could be handled differently," Freeman said. "Our job is to make a determination as to whether the officer has broken the law.”

RPD on Friday asked a judge to allow the public release of the footage from the officers' body-worn and dashboard cameras. The department's Professional Standards Division is also investigating the incident.

On Friday afternoon, Raleigh Chief of Police Cassandra Deck-Brown said the videos are an effort by police to be transparent as they consider whether the use of force in this incident was excessive.

"There are a number of things that disturb me," she said in a news conference after the videos were released.

Asked why the officer did not use his Taser, Deck Brown said that if Batista-Concepcion had been stunned, he could have lost control of the still-running car, and it could have become a 3,000-pound weapon.

“They will obtain all the video related, we will have them talk to witnesses at the scene and leading up in the moments before that interaction with law enforcement," Freeman said, noting that all interviews would be recorded.

Her office is expected to make a determination whether to file criminal charges against either of the officers within about 30 days.

"I think it is important that the community not rush to judgment in these cases," she said.

"I am not concerned there is going to be some obscuring of the truth," Freeman said. "The videos speak for themselves, and I think, at the end of the day, it is going to be a question of were the officer’s actions justified or not.”

Batista-Concepcion, of 3584 S. Beaver Lane in Raleigh, was charged with two counts of hit-and-run with property damage, failure to report an accident, driving while impaired, resisting a public officer, possession of up to a half-ounce of marijuana and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.

Community activists used the video of Batista-Concepcion's arrest to renew calls for an oversight board to review use-of-force cases involving the Raleigh Police Department.

Activist Kerwin Pittman said the way Batista-Concepcion was treated was out of proportion to what he was accused of.

"Was that kind of beating justified for someone who didn't strike back?" Pittman said at a news conference. "Regardless of any alleged offense, the action that was taken against Mr. Batista was totally excessive and totally unwarranted and totally unbecoming of an officer of the law."

In addition to demanding a civilian police review board, Pittman called for all charges to be dropped against Batista-Concepcion, that all Raleigh police officers undergo de-escalation and "racial equity" training and that Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown resign if she cannot hold her officers accountable for their actions.

Our commenting policy has changed. If you would like to comment, please share on social media using the icons below and comment there.