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May 19th, 2009
10:38 AM ET

Police brutality?


Police brutality caught on tape?
Police brutality caught on tape?

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

Did cops go too far in subduing a young suspect? Did an aggressive, uncooperative teenager provoke a violent confrontation? The answer may depend on whose version you believe.

The story unfolded in Toledo, Ohio, but it has spread across the Internet because of a YouTube clip that some say allegedly shows two officers using excessive force on a 14-year-old boy.

The incident happened last Friday morning outside a residential housing complex. According to the police report, the suspect, Trevor Casey, and three other males were loitering outside an address where none of them lived. Two officers in a patrol vehicle told them to leave the area, but Casey refused the order. Instead, according to the report, he "did a dance" in front of the vehicle.

The report alleges Casey continued to ignore commands to disperse and became belligerent when told he was under arrest. According to the report, Casey struggled with the officers for several minutes, hitting one of the officers in the chest with his arm, and wrestling and kicking with them while refusing to "go down."

In the report, the officers "applied joint pressure and body strikes to the suspect." They also used open handed strikes to the suspect's facial area before subduing Casey, who, the report says, had a bloody nose and swollen lip.

But the family's account offers a starkly different version.

In a statement, David Casey said his brother obeyed the officers' orders to leave the area, but walked away more slowly than the others. David Casey said one of the officers "walked up and started choking him." He also alleges an officer slammed his brother on the hood of the police cruiser.

According to the brother's statement, the officers punched and kicked Casey, and hit his face with a billy club before choking him until he couldn't breathe.

Casey was charged with assaulting an officer, resisting arrest, obstructing official business and disorderly conduct. He was taken to a local hospital to be treated for his injuries.

Casey, who is being charged as a juvenile, was released from custody and is home with his mother.

In a statement to CNN, Toledo Police Chief Michael Navarre said he could not comment on an on-going investigation but did acknowledge that the department is looking into the incident.

Chief Navarre also said the Casey's mother filed a formal complaint alleging excessive force.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Jaz

    Police brutality is all around us. I heard this morning of a 12 year old boy in pa who was shot because he had a toy gun while walking his dog. When asked by officers to get down and drop his weapon, he complied and the dog alledgedly advanced toward the officers. The story goes the bullet deflected off the dog and hit the boy in the head.
    Officers need to think before they speak, act, torture and kill.

    May 19, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  2. Joanna

    I'm from Toledo – one point of info that most wouldn't know – the mayor has cut the police force drastically due to budget crisis. This is no excuse for any type of brutality, however, it undoubtedly played a role in the attitude of the youth and the police officers. That being said, until police are trained properly, police will continue to beat citizens up if they even say "no" to them. Police are not taught to be critical thinkers, they are just taught to act and think later. I must say, though, that Toledo police have typically been very good with local youth, and this is the first "brutality" incident that I have ever seen on the news. He looks pretty beat up, though. Probably not necessary, considering there were at least 2 officers and 1 youth.

    May 19, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  3. Kj

    I guess police brutality is new to some people. It definitely wasnt a part of "Black in America".
    Question: When is the last time you heard of a police officer saving anyone or doing a good job of catching a murder, rapist, child abuser, or drug dealer? How come pets save more lives than police officers?

    Police officers should all have to carry cameras around with them so they wont be any need to take sides. There will only be truth that everyone can see.

    May 19, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  4. Tina Hendrickson

    Are you kidding me that you would even ask if this is police brutality? You have NO IDEA what happened before the clip that you showed us! Even though the arresting officers where black, the next thing you know you will also be asking if it was because of the color of his skin. I believe these asinine accusations have probably lead to the death of numerous police officers in the U.S. because no matter how clear cut the circumstances are, there is always something in the back of an officers mind that worries about repercussions. Try being the wife of an officer and never knowing if they are coming home to their families at the end of their shift and you may give THEM the benefit of the doubt instead of the alleged criminal. You will never know unless you live it. I have always enjoyed watching and reading this from you Mr. Cooper, but if you are going to put this notion of police brutality into the heads of your readers that don't know any better, I don't think I would want to partake any further. It's very discouraging, knowing that if you ever need help or protection, you will NOT hesitate to call and then in the same breath you will speak badly. Please don't put down someone who protects your life, for MUCH less pay than you make to make this a better world for you and your loved ones.

    May 19, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  5. Troy

    it's really hard to say what happened before the recording started. The commentary from the girl filming and the girl who says it's her lil brother would suggest it's brutality, but I dont know if I buy that story. That much force for no reason at all doesnt seem likely.

    May 19, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  6. David S.

    Haven't we gone through all this before? I understand that the public has the so called "right" to be informed, but at who's cost, and by who's standards of reporting? The individual that shot the video does not know what happen prior the contact with police, nor do they know the true details of the situation. I agree that police brutality should be stopped, just has torture should be stopped; unfortunately the two will never be compared.
    Because of this video, police officials, the family, the public, and the media must play "he said, he said" in order to determine who is telling the truth.
    Hopefully this case will not go to trail. For if it does, we has a society take a chance on living through another brutal riot with lives lost, and a country divided once again.

    May 19, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  7. Teresa, OH

    From what I could see, that looked like a big 14 yr. old. No offense, by I absolutely do not believe this: "David Casey said one of the officers “walked up and started choking him.” And I do believe this one: he “did a dance” in front of the vehicle.

    Kids will be kids... and if parents dont want to teach their chidren to respect elders and the law, the law will teach them... one way or another. So Mom filed an excessive force complaint: what complaint do the cops get to file: bored kid wasting our time?

    Who's telling the truth? Neither, of course.

    May 19, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  8. Alonza

    Well we dont know the beginning of the story. It is always shot after the initial contact with officers.

    The juvenile seem like he was resisting arrest because of the to officers. If he was obeying the police, then there was no need of force. But like I said he look like he was resisting the officers. I was a juvenile that live in a low income apartments and I had the forget the police attitude thinking I was invincible to the world. The suspect and family is looking for an excuse and a quick pay day.

    They next thing that going to happen, they going to be on the news saying he was a good boy just having fun. But that is what I see and what I know. Cause I live through it and seen it when I was young African-American male .

    May 19, 2009 at 11:07 am |