Former prosecutor: ‘Difficult to tell' if video shows excessive force

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Former federal prosecutor and FBI agent Quentin Williams examined a 9-second-video of Malcolm Elliott being arrested by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police.

Malcolm Glenn Elliott II, 26, was arrested Tuesday in connection with a hit-and-run and a stolen car, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said. Police said officers were called to Independence Drive near Phoenix Drive for a car driving erratically. The car ended up in Sardis Place at Matthews apartment complex.

Channel 9 asked Williams on Wednesday if the video is an example of excessive force.

CMPD said Elliott resisted as officers attempted to restrain him and continued to pull his arms away from officers as they attempted to get him in handcuffs.

"It’s difficult to tell, because you do have to interview all officers, witnesses who took video and any others around to understand exactly what was happening as those punches were being thrown,” Williams said.

Police said Elliott hit property and eluded a North Carolina state trooper. CMPD was asked to assist with the call. Officials said the car was stolen.

Williams said police are interviewing witnesses and looking through video captured by police body cameras to determine what is going on in the video.

A police official said the officers were wearing body cameras. The camera footage is criminal investigative material, which is not public record according to the North Carolina statute 132.14.

"Police officers are trained to defend themselves so if a police officer is being punched it's OK to fight back. But if somebody is being restrained and are restrained there is no need to come to blows with them,” Williams said.

In the video provided to Channel 9 by a witness, seven CMPD officers are seen standing around Elliott during his arrest. Williams said that’s a strategy common among officers.

"Basically setting up a perimeter around the officer so they were protecting the officer and society from suspect fleeting,” Williams said.

Channel 9 caught up with Elliott on Wednesday afternoon. He said he had no comment from his Harrisburg home. He was wearing small plastic braces on his legs.

Family members told Channel 9 that he had spent part of the day in the hospital.

Elliott's mother, Cheryl, told Channel 9 that she is outraged by the video.

"It didn't take that many officers to apprehend my son, because my son is tall and very small," she said. "He's very skinny."

CMPD said allegations of excessive use of force are currently being investigated by the CMPD's Internal Affairs Unit, police said in a statement.

Elliot has a list of convictions dating back to 2006 including possession of drugs, a concealed weapon, common law robbery and driving while license was revoked.

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