ALAMEDA (CBS SF) — A video showing Alameda police officers arresting an African American man who had been exercising in the street has gone viral and has prompted a response from city officials.
The video shows four Alameda police officers restraining the unidentified man and wrestling him to the ground on the 2000 block of Central Ave. in Alameda.
On Friday, Alameda Police released several officer body camera videos of the incident along with the audio of the call to police dispatchers reporting an African American man walking and dancing in the street.
Officers arrive and question the man, asking if everything is alright and that they were responding to call from someone who said they were concerned for the man’s safety. The clearly frustrated man is heard calmly explaining to officers what he was doing and at one point reached for his car keys and gestured toward where he said his car was parked.
One of the officers then tells him not to reach for anything, and that he was being detained while they continued their questioning. At that point, the man became uncooperative as officers began to physically detain him and eventually wrestling him to the ground.
“Get your hands off me!” the man says. “I do this every morning!”
On one of the videos, a woman is heard calling out to police corroborating the man’s account of his activity in the street. “Why are you making a problem out of nothing?” she said.
A sergeant arrives as the man is being forced to the ground and handcuffed; he is heard imploring the sergeant to have the officer get off his back.
The man told officers that he exercises practices martial arts choreography in the area every day. “I do this every morning. Let me go! I have the right to exercise on my street,” he tells a police sergeant who later arrived on the scene.
While the man was eventually forced to sit down in the back of a patrol vehicle, he was later let go with a citation.
The incident in Alameda happened two days before Minneapolis police officers wrestled George Floyd to the ground and kneeling on his neck and back for more than eight minutes, killing him.
The man is known to those in the neighborhood as someone who exercises in the area. A woman in the video is heard corroborating the man’s daily activity. “Why are you making a problem out of nothing?” she called out to police.
In a statement, Alameda City Manager Eric Levitt said, “I do not believe the actions on the call reflect the values I desire for the Alameda Police Department or represent the values of the Alameda community. Based on an initial review, a full outside investigation is being requested by the Police Chief. I concur with his decision fully. While it has not been determined at this time whether it violated policy upon initial review, it does not represent my values that the Police Department needs to respect and serve our community with trust and without bias.”
Levitt said the city would be conducting an independent investigation of the arrest. The names of the officers were not immediately released.
In a statement, the Alameda Police Department said “We intend for this encounter to a teachable moment for the officers involved, the neighbors and the woman who placed the initial call for service.”