Closings and delays

Investigation underway after home video shows Akron police officers trying to subdue suspect

AKRON, Ohio -- Home video shows Akron police officers struggling to subdue a suspect on Para Avenue Sunday afternoon, wrestling with him and using their Tasers while attempting to force him to comply.

The video was taken by an Akron man who posted it to his Facebook account where it quickly went viral and was shared almost 3,000 times. It generated strong reaction from both critics and supporters of the officers.

The man who took the video, who does not use his real name online, talked with FOX 8 News on the condition of anonymity.

"They got to asking him questions. He answered all their questions, then they grabbed him and started rough housing him. Once they started to rough house him I started to pull out my phone and record it," he said.

The video initially shows two officers struggling with the suspect, identified by police as Patrick King, 47.

"The fight went to the ground. The officers struggled with the suspect for several minutes, almost to exhaustion. They used pressure points strikes, multiple Tasings. Nothing really seemed to have an effect on him; eventually more officers had to arrive," said Akron Police Major Jesse Leeser.

Leeser said the officers stopped King after they observed him leaving a suspected drug house and he lied to them about his identity.

He said officers were going to arrest him and that's when the struggle began.
During the struggle, the officers' tactics were second guessed by bystanders including the man who was shooting the video.

"I'm not used to seeing it. I'm not used to always seeing it, but when I do see it, I want to do something about it because they shouldn't be doing that. Little kids look up to police officers and stuff like that and now if little kids see stuff like that happening they not going to look up to police; they not even going to want their protection," said the witness.

The camera continues recording as backup officers arrive.

One of the officers is seen throwing more than 30 blows to King who police say was still trying to keep from being handcuffed.

"I done seen a lot of people be detained by police and the way they detained him wasn't a good way; they wasn't supposed to do him like that. That's what made me pull my phone out," said the witness.

"Very scary to fight with an individual. You don't know why he is fighting, only he does. The fight goes to the ground. These officers are not experts on ground-fighting. Their weapons are exposed to him; the fight goes on for several minutes," said Leeser.

Police said the blows that were delivered were not intended to hurt King but are tactics they have learned to try to get a suspect to comply.

"Those aren't there to cause injuries. Those strikes are used to disrupt the subject and to allow you to handcuff them. Any fight when you see it looks violent; it looks out of the norm for most folks, but unfortunately this is something we have to do on occasion. We are trained to win those fights," said Leeser.

Police said King was wanted on a probation violation out of Cuyahoga County on a burglary case there and was also wanted on at least one outstanding warrant out of New Franklin.

He now faces additional charges in Akron that include resisting arrest, tampering with evidence, misrepresenting identity and drug paraphernalia.

The officers involved in the incident are on normal duty while there is an internal investigation.

Police said the home video, as well as video from the officers' own body-worn cameras, will be used as a part of an internal investigation that is standard whenever there is a case involving use of force.

"We treat every use of force as obviously very important. We investigate them thoroughly. We have a very thorough procedure on how supervisors respond to the incident -- how we collect evidence and how we come to a conclusion as to whether that force was reasonable or not, and that's the standard that we use," said Leeser.