A video posted on Facebook appearing to show Austin police officers apprehending a man has garnered more than 1 million views and has led to an official investigation, Austin Police Department Chief Brian Manley said in an interview with our news partners at the Austin American-Statesman Thursday.
In the video, three Austin police officers, two wearing facial coverings and the other a Santa hat, can be seen apprehending a man, forcing him to the ground and pointing a stunning device as he screams and yells, "They're punching me."
WARNING: Video contains language that may be offensive to some.
Thursday evening, the APD confirmed the man under arrest was Jason Deshun Donald, 37. Travis County online records indicate Donald was booked on Tuesday under charges of manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance and resisting arrest.
Chief Manley said in the interview that in the investigation, they will look into the officers' use of force as well as the facial coverings and Santa hat. Manley said that though the facial coverings seen in the video are not strictly against policy, they are uncharacteristic for frontline officers. He said the Santa hat, which portrays the word "Naughty," is against APD policy.
A second recording from store surveillance shows the suspect breaking free from the handcuffs, Chief Manley said, which can't be seen in the viral video.
See the APD's full statement below:
The Austin Police Department (APD) is aware of the video that is circulating on social media, depicting the arrest of a subject at a convenience store and the subsequent response to resistance incident that occurred on the side of the store. It is apparent from the video that the subject is handcuffed when he is escorted from the store, but as the officers and the suspect move around the side of the store and out of the camera view, you can hear officers directing the suspect to place his hands behind his back. While this seems contradictory, given that he was handcuffed when he was removed from the store, APD obtained a second video from the store’s surveillance cameras that depicts what happened once the subject was brought to the side of the store and out of view from the first recording.
In the surveillance video, it is clear that the suspect managed to slip one hand out of the handcuffs and had his hands in front of him. The officers and suspect end up going to the ground, while the officers attempt to overcome his resistance and place him back in handcuffs. This is when the initial video begins capturing the incident again. The response to resistance that took place at this time is currently under review.
Two of the officers involved in this incident were wearing balaclavas. While this was not prohibited by department policy, APD has now changed that and officers working on non-tactical operations will not cover their faces unless there is a specific need to protect their identity and that need has been approved by their division commander. In addition, one officer was wearing a Santa hat with the word “Naughty” written on the front. This is not approved under APD policy and is being addressed as well.
We thank you for your patience while the department conducts a thorough investigation.