Two North Carolina police officers have been suspended after repeatedly punching a Black man lying on the ground in a clash that was caught on camera by a filming bystander.
At around 6pm on Monday, Kinston Police officers McKinley Jones and Kevin Page responded to a 911 call from a woman who said David Lee Bruton Jr, 36, had threatened to “slap” her, according to the Jones Free Press.
In a press conference on Tuesday, police said that Mr Bruton then attempted to run away from the officers, but tripped and fell to the ground, with the officers quickly moving to detain him while he was on the floor.
The authorities have claimed that Mr Bruton kicked one of the officers in the stomach in the incident, while the footage filmed by a bystander showed the two officers punching the 36-year-old several times as he was on the ground before arresting him.
The footage of the incident was uploaded to Facebook on Monday evening, quickly causing outrage among local residents and politicians.
In a statement, Kinston Mayor Pro Tem Felicia Solomon reacted to the footage, saying: “The video that you saw, that I saw and that members of the community have seen, the response has been the same, it is very disturbing.”
Ms Solomon added to the Free Press: “It is very concerning, which is why we can’t afford nor do we desire to afford to ignore what we saw.”
She confirmed that the local police department alongside the city is investigating the incident and is seeking additional footage from anyone else who witnessed the arrest.
Barbara Sutton, the president of the Lenoir County chapter of the NAACP, told WRAL-TV that she is “very, very disturbed and very outraged” by the footage and confirmed she has received dozens of calls relating to it.
Ms Bruton’s mother, Cynthia Bruton, told the Free Press that the officers must receive “consequences” for their actions and confirmed that her son was not seriously injured in the encounter.
“We are really grateful to God that he is alive,” she said. “Because he could’ve been one of those taken out by police but he was not.
“Just looking at the video last night, one would have thought he was beaten to a pulp, but as far as we know, he’s OK. We still have not seen him,” Ms Bruton added.
Mr Bruton has been charged with intimidation, simple assault and disorderly conduct, with a bond set at $500 (£362).
Kinston Police chief Tim Dilday confirmed to The Independent on Wednesday that the two officers have been suspended from the department, pending an investigation into the incident.
The footage was uploaded amid the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged with killing unarmed Black man George Floyd after kneeling on his neck for several minutes during an arrest last May.
It also came just one day after the death of 20-year-old Black man Daunte Wright, who was killed by a Minnesota officer, prompting protests and further scrutiny on use of force by police.