Yesterday evening, the Columbia Police Department issued a press release regarding a large disturbance that occurred early Sunday (3/19/17) morning at 1704 N. Providence Road, I-70 Eagle Stop. Four people were arrested following the incident, with the potential for more arrests pending.
It has come to our attention that a bystander from the incident has released cell phone video to local media outlet(s) portraying a woman being pushed by a Columbia Police officer during the incident. Additionally the video shows that same officer deploying OC spray. The video can be found here - http://www.abc17news.com/news/four-arrested-after-large-fight-at-columbia-eagle-stop/405085727.
This video has raised questions from a media outlet about the responses to resistance used during the incident. All responses to resistance are reviewed through an officer's chain of command, and any complaints that may result from this incident will be investigated by the Internal Affairs Unit. In order to provide a more complete account of the incident in question, we are releasing an officer's body worn camera video containing the portion of the incident that was portrayed in the cell phone video. The video can be found here - https://youtu.be/lx3--h8PmgQ.
The body worn camera footage begins just after Spencer Ervin (seen in the red shirt) fired a gun at another person. Officers quickly move to apprehend Ervin who dropped the gun and was standing behind the woman you see being shoved in the cell phone video. Officers give directives to the woman to move out of the way. The woman appears to be preventing officers from taking Ervin into custody. Ervin appears to ignore officers' commands to see his hands. Officers direct Ervin to get down on the ground which he complies with. The woman continues to ignore officers' commands and is subsequently pushed out of the way so officers' could take Ervin into custody. Ultimately, the woman was obstructing officers from taking Ervin, who had just fired a gun at another person, into custody. Further, the body worn camera footage shows subjects continuing to approach officers after Ervin is detained. Officers are observed establishing a perimeter around Ervin and the evidence. Officers gave lawful directives to the subjects to disperse. When the subjects refused to do so, officers deployed OC spray.
"It's important to look at the situation as a whole. Incidents like this have many factors to take into consideration, and often multiple videos to review. That is why it's important to hesitate before drawing any conclusions about circumstances portrayed in things like cell phone videos," says Deputy Chief John Gordon.
This body worn camera video will be the only video released at this time. As aforementioned, the investigation in this large disturbance remains on-going.
2017-002749, 2017-002750, 2017-002751, & 2017-002752