FOP weighs in on body cams after incident in Rainbow City

FOP weighs in on body cams after incident in Rainbow City
Source: Rainbow City Police Department
Source: Rainbow City Police Department

RAINBOW CITY, AL (WBRC) - A family in Rainbow City reached out to us saying their loved one was abused, tased and thrown off a bridge Thursday night after a traffic stop.

The family says the man was taken to UAB with injuries to his face, neck and leg. His family claims police "beat him to death."

In response to those allegations, Rainbow City Police released 30 minutes worth of body camera footage showing the man jumping off the bridge onto the rocks below.

Here's what Chief Jonathon Horton posted on the department's Facebook page late Friday night in response to the abuse claims:

In response to the "Social Media Craze" and false allegations that Rainbow City Police Officers would mistreat any citizen (Law abiding or Suspect) I have uploaded this video to discredit the horrendous allegations that on July 13, 2017 that Rainbow City Police threw anyone from a bridge on Black Creek Parkway or in any way did anything other than carry out our duties to the extent of rendering what aid we could to a fleeing suspect. In this video, you will clearly see a man flee from police after learning that we had found out his true identity and discovered that he had Felony Warrants for Probation Revocation for Dangerous Drugs and other misdemeanor traffic violations. Prior to confronting this subject, he had stated that, "He had never obtained an Alabama Driver's License and did not know his Social Security Number." He gave officers a false name and then recanted the fact he had no driver's license and gave police another person's driver's license that he found within the vehicle. After the other occupant of the vehicle help reveal his identity, you can clearly see him run across two lanes of traffic and leap over a concrete bridge barrier, falling approximately 19 feet to the ground. The subject next pulled his pants off and ran along the river bank, as well as he could after succumbing from injuries from his self in the fall refusing to stop or show his hands in a very dark wooded area until the officer had to result in deploying a taser to get him to cooperate. Next you will notice that not only did police NOT throw him from the bridge that the police actually rendered him aid as well as they could until medics arrived. Just because it's on Facebook does not mean it is true. We regret that this subject had self-inflicted injuries, as it's our intention to protect all lives and be concerned with all the community's safety as a whole. Jonathon W. Horton, Chief of Police, Rainbow City Police Dept. *Note other images are the 19 feet measurement and a look at the depth that the suspect plunged over on his own. Pictures in comment.

"I think it was very important that they released it as quick as they did because of all the false allegations that were coming out about the officers and what actually took place on this particular traffic stop," said Heath Boackle, President of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 1 in Birmingham.

"Eventually, we have got to get to where people are held accountable for making false allegations like this because, let's just say, if there hadn't been a body camera in this incident, where would we be today? It would be a huge uproar because it would've been he said she said type of conversation against what the police actually did or did not do compared to what the citizen with saying happened to him when the video completely shows he jump off that bridge on his own," he continued.?

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