The Attorney General of Delaware is launching an investigation to review the arrest of a 16-year-old black teen Friday that was caught on video. In the recording, officers can be seen repeatedly punching and beating the teen as he lies on the ground.
Attorney General Kathy Jennings told Delaware Online that the AG’s Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust initiated the investigation into the incident in which Roger Brown was pinned to the ground by one New Castle County police officer as another repeatedly punched him in the face.
According to the outlet, Roger was standing outside his home with a friend who had come over to show him his new dirt bike. They were working on the bike in the driveway when the officers showed up.
Police said they were responding to a drug-dealing complaint, and Roger reportedly “matched the description” of the suspect.
Roger’s mother, Mary Fleming, said the officers walked up and told her son to get off the dirt bike. He did, and attempted to walk it over and lean it against a tree when he was tackled by the police.
The friend, Jaiden Palmer, began filming the incident, and the video starts with Roger on the ground. The officer can clearly be seen punching the teen as another officer holds the boy down. One officer can be heard yelling repeatedly “Stop resisting,” although it is clear Roger is not resisting. His body is jerking from being hit repeatedly.
A third officer approaches the scene and tells Jaiden, who is filming, to back up. He then tells him to go back inside the house, ostensibly to get him to stop recording the incident—as is his right.
Jaiden said the three officers handcuffed Roger and he was taken away in an ambulance.
Police claim they found “numerous” bags of marijuana, a digital scale, prescription pills and over $1,000 in cash on Roger. He was charged with resisting arrest, manufacturing, delivering, or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance and related charges.
Chris Johnson, the family’s attorney, said that the use of force was excessive.
“No matter why he was arrested, he has the right to not be beat up and punched,” Johnson told Delaware Online.
Col. Vaughn Bond, chief of the New Castle County Police, told Delaware Online that his department is aware of the video and conducting an internal investigation into the incident, but he declined to give further comment.
Jennings said both Bond and County Executive Matt Meyer reached out to her about the incident.
Coleen Palmer, Jaiden’s mother, told Delaware Online that officers showed up at their house on Saturday asking for a copy of the footage Jaiden filmed.
Palmer said she emailed the video to police and then decided to share it publicly herself.
“It just kept bothering me,” she said. “So today I chose to share it.”