Surveillance video from a police station just outside of Pittsburgh, in Allegheny County, PA., shows a police officer assault a man in custody after they engage in a verbal dispute over his refusal to sit down. Elizabeth Borough Police Officer Garrett Kimmell can be seen attempting to choke inmate Joshua Brooks, then starting to punch him when Brooks rebuffs that attempt.
Brooks, who has one arm in a cast, initially fights back, although his ability to do so is restricted by the fact one of his ankles is shackled to a bench. He can then be seen raising his arms in an apparent attempt to show he doesn’t intend to resist. However, Kimmell continues hitting him and then places him in a frontal choke hold.
Soon after, Brooks resumes fighting back and begins overpowering Kimmell before another cop arrives and assists in restraining him. At that point, while the other officer is holding brooks, Kimmell begins using his tazer on him, shocking him several times. The video then ends.
As a result of the video, charges of resisting arrest and aggravated assault on an officer were dropped and Brooks has since filed a federal civil rights lawsuit. The incident happened in 2015, but the video was not released by Brooks’ lawyer, Todd Hollis, until this week when those charges were dropped.
A Pittsburgh attorney released a video Wednesday as part of a federal civil-rights lawsuit alleging excessive use of force by Elizabeth Borough police.
The lawsuit, which names two officers, alleges the video is just one example of a larger problem with the Police Department. It claims this isn’t an isolated incident.
Channel 11 News could not find any other examples of lawsuits filed against Elizabeth Borough police for brutality involving black victims. However, the lawsuit states the alleged incident “is one of many encounters in which young African-American men who are taken into custody by borough police officers who become the victims of police brutality…”
Joshua Brooks, 21, was arrested April 17, 2015, on suspicion of heroin possession. Hollis said Brooks, whose left arm was in a cast, was shackled to a bench.
Hollis said in the video, Brooks stands up from the bench and refuses to sit down. Police Officer Garrett Kimmell then hits Brooks multiple times and Brooks fights back in an effort to restrain Kimmell, Hollis explained.
A second officer eventually appears and assists with subduing Brooks, and Kimmell is seen firing a stun gun, Hollis said.
“The acts that happened on that particular day don’t denote honor, and I think it brings dishonor to all the great police officers in our city and the country,” Hollis said.
The lawsuit states that after Brooks’ arrest, additional charges were filed, including resisting arrest and aggravated assault on an officer. Hollis said the charges were dropped after the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office saw the surveillance video.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday accuses Kimmell of excessive force and accuses the second officer of failure to intervene.
“Sometimes, what you do in the dark comes to light, and I think this is one of those instances,” Hollis said.