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Dublin: 3°C Saturday 17 April 2021

Second video emerges of US officer repeatedly punching black man

“Violence and use of force in any situation is disturbing and difficult to watch,” the city’s mayor said.

Ohio officers at a protest outside the Republican Convention in Cleveland in July this year.
Ohio officers at a protest outside the Republican Convention in Cleveland in July this year.
Image: Ivan Flores via PA Images

OHIO OFFICIALS ARE investigating a violent arrest in which an officer was videotaped repeatedly punching a black man, the latest alleged case of excessive use of force by police against African-Americans.

More than seven million people had viewed an online video of the arrest, posted on Facebook by a bystander.

Police also released dashboard camera footage showing 25-year-old Richard Hubbard forced to the ground with an officer on top of him raining down blows.

In an initial report of the incident, which occurred last Saturday, police said Hubbard had been resisting arrest. He can be seen apparently struggling with officers, but not exhibiting violent force.

City officials said the incident raised questions and they were investigating, while advocates representing residents of the small city of Euclid, a suburb outside Cleveland, expressed alarm.

“Violence and use of force in any situation is disturbing and difficult to watch. The videos of the incident on Saturday morning raise some very serious concerns,” Euclid Mayor Kirsten Gail said in a statement.

Questions have arisen over the police department’s hiring practices and how thoroughly it vets officers.

The officer who punched Hubbard was not identified. But, the American Civil Liberties Union said one of the police at the scene was Michael Amiott, who was “forced to resign from his previous job” at another police department.

“We are appalled by the brutality seen in these videos,” said J Bennett Guess, head of the Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

This behaviour underscores a disturbing pattern of extreme use of force by police in our state and across our nation.

The incident was the latest to expose deep rifts between many African-Americans and US police – especially after recent high-profile incidents of police use of force captured on video.

Anger over police conduct and repeated failures to convict accused officers at trial has boiled over into angry street protests.

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin – another US city with strained relations between police and African-Americans – violent protests erupted after a 23-year-old black man was shot by a black officer after a brief foot chase.

Earlier this summer, former Ohio police officer Ray Tensing walked free after a second mistrial, when a jury could not agree whether to find him guilty for shooting a black man during a routine traffic stop.

© AFP 2017

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