Syracuse Police Department investigating after viral video shows forceful arrest

Jun 5, 2019

Syracuse Police are investigating an incident over the weekend that has led to a viral video showing police using force to make an arrest. 

The 33-second video shows Syracuse police officers pulling someone from the driver's seat of a car, and pinning him to the ground. Police say they pulled the vehicle over because of a violation of the city’s sound reproduction ordinance, and when the driver refused to leave the car, officers used force to place him in custody. The video also shows an officer apparently reaching for the passenger in the vehicle, who was recording the arrest with his phone.

That video has been shared on social media thousands of times already. And it’s drawn the attention of Yusef Abdul-Qadir, the director of the Central New York chapter of the NYCLU. He called the video alarming and concerning.

"The public puts a lot of trust in the police department to ensure their safety and security," said Abdul-Qadir. "So it’s concerning to see this type of violence done. And we hope the public is going to be engaged and the department does better."

In a statement, Syracuse Police Chief Kenton Buckner said the use of force was immediately reported to the department and a review begun before the video was posted online. He said the officers were finishing up a drug and weapons investigation at a nearby park when they heard the loud noise, and pulled the car over. Buckner promised a thorough and timely investigation, and said the officers involved will stay on the job during the review.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, in a statement, said he met with Buckner and was briefed on the incident, and "out of respect for the process, and in the interest of both the arrested individual and the officers, we will await the findings of the review."