ROCK HILL, S.C. — Thirteen people were arrested during two nights of protests in Rock Hill, Thursday and Friday, as community members demonstrated against what they see as excessive force during an arrest.
A viral video posted on social media shows two brothers being arrested Wednesday during a struggle with police officers at a gas station. The video had more than 87,000 views.
The attorney and family of Ricky and Travis Price said the force used by the arresting officers was excessive.
Rock Hill police said they were working with Homeland Security to target known drug dealers and that Ricky Price was taken out of handcuffs to allow him to remove jewelry but instead struck an officer and tried to flee.
The police chief said that’s when the video shows an officer striking Price to gain compliance. When that didn’t work, Ricky Price is hit in the face.
“A violent instance like that when somebody is resisting is ugly. It’s not pretty. There’s no way to make it look good, so we have to make sure what the intent was. What was the officer thinking? Why did he need to use that technique at that time,” Chief Chris Watts said. “But no, it does not look good.”
While Ricky Price might have been resisting arrest, activists said officers receive hundreds of hours of training and could have handled it better.
“I wasn’t ready for that officer in the green to come over and hit the guy in the face. That’s not how we handle our people out here. There’s a lot of good officers in Rock Hill, but the ones that are bad we gotta weed out,” said Maurice Sutter, founder of Black Lives Matter Rock Hill.
(Watch Below: Attorney says police used excessive force while arresting 2 brothers in Rock Hill)
Rock Hill NAACP President Norma Gray said she was able to view the body camera videos on Friday.
“We called for transparency, and we’ve been given transparency. Allow us to be transparent with you as we are given that information,” Gray said.
She called for calm protests.
“These officers need to go home to their families unbruised, unharmed,” Gray said.
Thursday night, more than 100 protesters gathered outside the Rock Hill Police Department.
Officials said eleven people were arrested over the span of three hours at the protests. Most of them were charged with disorderly conduct, and one of them was accused of setting fireworks off near officers.
Authorities said two more people were arrested at protests Friday night.
Officers in riot gear briefly appeared at the protest to help with a medical emergency.
Those who came from other communities said these are the moments that peaceful protests are the most effective in leading change.
“A lot of people come to stand in solidarity,” one person said.
While the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division conducts an independent investigation, the officers involved in the arrest have been placed on administrative leave.
According to the Rock Hill Police Department, 7 of the 13 people arrested were from Rock Hill. The others were from surrounding areas.
Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.
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