Birmingham man says he was attacked by police while trying to help with a neighborhood shooting
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A Birmingham neighborhood leader said Birmingham Police used unnecessary force and arrested him while he was trying to help them over the weekend. It happened at the Morrell Todd Homes housing community in the Kingston area.
“It was seconds,” Eldridge Knighton, President Morrell Todd Homes Residents Council, said.
A few seconds is how long Knighton said it was from when Birmingham police were asking him to leave a crime scene before he said he had an officer’s hands on his chest.
“Some gunshots rung out, maybe 100 plus rounds or so,” Knighton said. “Residents that are afraid. Children that are afraid.”
Knighton said it started when his residents were calling him with information about a shooting in the community on Sunday.
“They informed me of where the shooters were at, what apartment they ran out of and what apartment they ran into,” Knighton said.
Knighton said he then took BPD to the apartments where he believed the shooters may have been. The suspects were already gone but Knighton said the residents at the home started arguing with him for bringing the police and accusing him of snitching. He said they were arguing, but nothing physical happened between him and the resident.
“While everything was going on, one of the officers grabbed me by my chest and said I need to leave,” Knighton said. “I said why and he said leave now. He said, ‘I’m tired of you, you are going to go to jail.’ I said ‘why, I just informed you where the shooter was at.’ So, he grabbed me by my arm, but when he grabbed me, I jerked away. I said ‘hold up, what you taking me to jail for?’ Before I knew it, the police choked me. They had grabbed me around my neck, picked me up, slammed me down, and was choking me.”
Knighton said he has asthma and couldn’t breathe.
“It made me feel like George Floyd,” Knighton said. “Because, I was gagging. I couldn’t hardly breathe. Then, as one of them was trying to come up off of me, I can feel another officer come out of no where and take his knee and put his knee in the back of my head.”
Knighton was then arrested for disorderly conduct, but said he feels he never got a good explanation for why . He plans to file a complaint with BPD soon.
Knighton said many residents saw the alleged incident and he worries it won’t help the “no snitch culture” in the community. He said he may also quit being neighborhood president.
“I’m the voice for over 400 something residents who are afraid to come and speak to the police,” he said. “So, with me being their voice, I expect for BPD to hear me. I expect for the police to listen to me, especially when the residents are talking to me.”
Officials with the housing authority said they can not provide a comment, because it is an open investigation with Birmingham Police. They said they don’t know if BPD has requested on site security video of the incident yet, but they will give it if asked.
UPDATE: The Birmingham Police Department confirmed Knighton did file a formal complaint with the department. The investigation is still open and Knighton will be informed of the findings.
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