Video shows police officer taking down man on 6th Street

APD is investigating after a video posted online shows an officer taking down a man to the ground on 6th Street.

AUSTIN – A YouTube video of an Austin Police officer throwing a man to the ground is raising questions about excessive force.

Just before 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning, a member of the Peaceful Streets Project started recording Austin Police officers sweeping 6th Street as the bars closed.

In the video, available to see at the bottom of this story, you can see a man dancing near the mounted patrol officers. An officer tells him something and the man moves out of the video.

He returns for a moment, this time positioned behind the horse. Next, an officer, who's last name is DuBois, is seen swinging the man and throwing him to the ground.

The man is 20-year-old Joseph Cuellar.

"They were telling us all to move back and we did and we were doing that. But as I was moving back, I was doing a dancing motion and that's when he threw me," said Cuellar.

Austin Police Association President Kenneth Casaday said he spoke with some of the officers about what happened.

"The gentleman was coming up behind the horse with his arm raised like he was going to strike the horse," said Casaday.

KVUE News asked Cuellar if his hand was up and if he was about to hit the horse. "No. I wasn't going to do that," he said.

Casaday says what looks to some to be excessive force is an approved take-down technique called an "arm bar."

"The officer grabbed him and took him to the ground. He's a very small guy and I think that's kind of why he was, you know slung pretty far. But he was trying to protect the horse and the officer on horseback," said Casaday.

The result, scrapes on Cuellar's hands and a bruise on his torso. The video goes on to show Cuellar being arrested. He was charged with public intoxication.

Then the video shows another problem: a violation of police policy when a different officer steps in front of the person recording.

"Sir can I get your name and badge number," asked the man recording. "Oh I can't? Unidentified," he said when the officer didn't respond.

"Get a life dude. Get a life," the officer said.

Austin Police released the following statement Monday afternoon:

"The Austin Police Department is aware of the video found on YouTube from an incident that occurred in Downtown Austin over the weekend. As standard protocol, the involved officers Chain of Command will review this incident to determine if the response to resistance was appropriate and within APD policy.

"Additionally, APD policy requires that an officer will provide their name and employee number when requested. This will also be part of the supervisory review of this incident.

"It would be inappropriate to make any additional comments until this supervisory review has been completed."

Austin police policy states officers are required to identify themselves unless doing so "would jeopardize an undercover officer or a covert operation."

Cuellar is now planning to file a complaint against the officer.

Watch the video below or go here to watch it on YouTube.

Go here to learn more about the Peaceful Streets Project


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