DA wants probe into arrest of Black man beaten by deputies

Published 9:21 am Thursday, June 25, 2020

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CHATTANOOGA (AP) — A Tennessee district attorney has requested a state investigation into a physical altercation between a Black man and white deputies after dashcam video showed deputies striking him while he was handcuffed on the ground.
Hamilton County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston’s Office said in a news release Tuesday that he made the decision to call in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations after seeing video from Reginald Arrington Jr.’s arrest on May 23.
“What I saw in the videos was troubling,” Pinkston said.
Hamilton County deputies approached Arrington on a roadway while responding to a call about a suspicious man, who may have had a “weapon in his pocket.” The caller also told authorities the man was walking up to females and asking them how to leave the neighborhood, court documents said.
Arrington told police his car broke down, so he went into the neighborhood where a female friend lived, but she told him to leave.
Deputies said Arrington gave them a false name and later started acting “erratic” by emptying his pockets and “saying he didn’t want to get shot,” according to the arrest affidavit.
After several minutes, deputies said a handcuffed Arrington made several attempts to grab a deputy’s gun.
The video showed Arrington being pinned to the ground while screaming and swinging his legs in the air. In the video, one deputy struck his legs with a baton and ordered him to “stop kicking.”
“I didn’t even do nothing!,” Arrington can be heard screaming in the nearly 40-minute video. “You’re about to kill me.”
In the video, deputies beat the handcuffed Arrington for about five minutes. Deputies said Arrington “displayed superhuman strength” and a “limited pain response.”
Arrington was later charged with several violations and aggravated assault against the officers but Pinkston dropped the charges on Tuesday.
Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond called Pinkston’s dismissal of the charges against Arrington “hasty” and said in a news release he will not place “any of the deputies involved in this incident on administrative leave.”
Hammond asked the “community to not rush to judgment,” based on the video, adding Pinkston’s release of the the footage will “improperly influence and sensationalize the events of this incident.”
Protesters marching in the city Tuesday night called for Hammond to step down, and for deputies involved in the arrest to be fired, WTVC-TV reported.

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