MOBILE, Ala (WALA) – We are hearing from Mobile's police chief just hours after one of his officers was placed under investigation and re-assigned to desk duty.
It is all because of an arrest video that some claim went too far.
Chief Lawrence Battiste said there will be a thorough investigation and he wants to make sure the public knows this is being taken seriously.
The video, which surfaced online Wednesday, shows an MPD officer arresting a man while onlookers made the video recording of the incident.
"Why are you choking him?" a bystander can be heard to say in the video recording.
Chief Battiste said he saw the video on Wednesday, just hours after it was posted online and immediately acted.
“I took pause because it shows this agency, Mobile Police Department, in a negative light.”
The Chief said it is too early to make a judgement whether Officer Blake Duke crossed the line by using excessive force.
The takedown happening on Wednesday as MPD officers tried to arrest Howard Green Junior. Duke was walking Green, who was handcuffed, to a police car. Chief Battiste says Green may have spit into the officer's face and that is when it appears Duke pushed Green into the side of a police car and put him into an apparent chokehold.
“Our goal is to gather all of the facts and then of course hold those individuals within our department, if there were policy violations, accountable for their behavior,” Battiste said.
Officers were trying to arrest Green for three active warrants. He also had resisting arrest and disorderly conduct charges added from Wednesday’s incident.
Green has been arrested more than 20 times since 1993.
“He could be the worst criminal in the world, but our job is to make sure that we treat all citizens in this community with dignity and respect in the performance of our duties,” Battiste said.
Duke was named MPD officer of the month twice last year.
Investigators said there is body camera video of the incident and they will use that, along with the Facebook post in their investigation.
“I've asked this to be a fast track investigation,” Battiste said. “I want all hands-on deck.”