KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – On Friday, The Kansas City Police Department had a positive response to an app that helps record hands-free video when an individual is getting pulled over.
“If this is a way to ease their anxiety on interaction with a police officer, that’s fine,” Captain Tim Hernandez had said. “We understand.”
So, KCTV5 News had serious questions when a man said he was ticketed by police soon after recording someone else getting arrested.
Roderick Reed was driving past a beauty shop at Brush Creek Boulevard and Virginia Avenue last month when he saw something alarming, so he started recording video from his car.
In his video, you can see a woman’s head hit the ground as she is being arrested by police.
Police said someone called 911 about a male-bodied person dressed as a woman, so we are using female pronouns when referring to her.
According to Reed, she was bleeding and was held down for much too long, even after she seemed to stop fighting the arrest.
“There’s no reason for it,” Reed said. “Once a person is detained in handcuffs, they are detained. Take them to jail for whatever crime they did commit. That’s all you need to do. That’s the job. That’s their job description. To do what they did is very much out of order.”
Sgt. Jake Becchina, a KCPD spokesman, said it’s too soon to say whether there was any misconduct.
“I want to make sure we review this thoroughly with the officers, with their staff, with our training personnel,” he said.
He said it is possible the woman seems subdued only because the officers are using what experts call “pain compliance” to keep her still until a transport wagon got there to provide a cage and leg restraints.
“Someone can still pose a danger with their feet or legs in a kicking manner, or their head, or their arms from even behind their back,” Becchina said. “From a handcuffed position, they can still be a danger to officers.”
Case in point: Just last week, a man in handcuffs grabbed the gun of a Trenton, Missouri officer and shot her.
No one can say if such a thing was a threat in this instance, but the owner of the beauty store described the local woman’s behavior as erratic and combative well before police arrived.
He said the woman had trash bags full of clothes in front of the shop’s door. The owner asked her to move the bags and said they were blocking customers from opening the door, but the woman told him no.
A man then came out of a vacant house across the street, where the store owner said the woman also spends time, and she and that man got into a screaming match right in front of the store.
Before all was said and done, the owner said the woman was inside the store shouting racial slurs offensive to Asian people at him and refusing to leave.
There’s also the question of police giving Reed a ticket after telling him he had to leave while shooting the video.
You can hear on the audio from the video:
“I ain’t interfering. I’m just recording.”
“So am I, now move along.”
“The exact charge is I was blocking the street,” Reed said. “You can see in the video I wasn’t blocking the street.”
Video of the street shows there was hardly any traffic to block.
You can hear an officer in the dashcam video say, “You’re blocking traffic!”
Police said the only reason he was told to move along was because he was stopped in the road for several minutes, though he did eventually pull to the curb about a minute and a half after being told to move.
“If he had pulled to the side of the road instead of stopping for a significant period of time -- pulled to the side of the road, gotten out, been on the sidewalk or a safe distance away, we welcome that,” Becchina said.
Reed will gladly take it up with a judge for the sake of the woman now facing charges of trespassing, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
“I wish I could have helped her,” Reed said. “I really do. But, I couldn’t because they’re the law. In the process, I got a chance to help her this way.”
KCTV5 News will be checking back with police regularly to see what their internal investigation reveals.
We did reach out to Mayor-elect Quinton Lucas to get his reaction to the video and the police response. We have not yet heard back.