EUCLID, OH (WOIO) - The ACLU and NAACP are condemning the use of force by a Euclid Police Officer after a traffic stop over the weekend. The video shows a confrontation between officers and Richard Hubbard III.
The two groups said they are concerned by the brutality, they are are also aware of other incidents of misconduct by the Euclid Police Department in the past.
One of the officers in the video was forced to resign from a different police department for conducting a traffic stop without probable cause.
The Euclid Police Chief issued a statement on Aug. 16 saying the incident is being investigated and asked people not to lose sight of all of the good work that law enforcement officers in Euclid and beyond do.
Statement from the ACLU and NAACP:
This past weekend in Euclid, a suburb of Cleveland, police dash-cam and bystander footage captured an officer's violent interaction with an individual during what should have been a routine traffic stop. In the videos the officer can be seen slamming the man's head against the street and repeatedly hitting him in his head. Euclid Mayor Kirsten Gail and a police department spokesperson said the incident will be thoroughly reviewed.
One of the officers involved, Michael Amiott, was forced to resign from his previous job as a Mentor police officer for conducting a traffic stop without probable cause. The ACLU of Ohio and the Cleveland Branch NAACP are profoundly concerned about the apparent lack of vetted background screening in hiring practices for City of Euclid police officers.
"We are appalled by the brutality seen in these videos," said J. Bennett Guess, Executive Director of the ACLU of Ohio. "This behavior underscores a disturbing pattern of extreme use of force by police in our state and across our nation. In order to regain public trust, authorities must ensure that force is only used as a last resort to protect the life of officers and community members. Even under those circumstances, the force must never be excessive."
"This extremely disturbing use of force by a law enforcement officer employed by the City of Euclid is, sadly, nothing new," said James L. Hardiman, President of the Cleveland Branch NAACP. "We are aware of other incidents involving police misconduct by Euclid policemen, and we are calling on the City of Euclid and its police department to take this matter seriously, fulfill their sworn oath as public officials and eliminate the practice of using excessive and unconstitutional force. The relationship between the African-American community and local police is, at best, tumultuous and events like this only serve to plant a deeper seed of mistrust."
The ACLU of Ohio and Cleveland Branch NAACP are committed to challenging and eradicating police brutality in all Ohio communities. Both organizations called for the Department of Justice to investigate excessive use of force within the Cleveland Division of Police, which resulted in the ongoing consent decree.
Statement from the Euclid Police:
My name is Scott Meyer and I am the Chief of Police Of the Euclid Police Department. I first want to sincerely apologize for not publicly responding in a more timely fashion.
I can understand and appreciate the great concern and alarm of those who have seen or heard of the videos involving the arrest of Richard Hubbard III by members of the Euclid Police
Department on August 12th, 2017. I want to personally assure everyone that this incident is being thoroughly investigated and reviewed to determine if the actions of the Police Officers involved were consistent with both the Mission and Policy & Procedures of the Euclid Police Department. As the Chief of Police, it is my duty to see that this investigation is done thor-oughly and fairly. I ask everyone to please be patient while this process is being conducted.
The Euclid Police Department is deeply committed to positive community engagement. We will continue to work with our community partners in building and fostering positive relation-ships. Our Officers are committed to proactively, conscientiously, and fairly addressing our very real crime control issues, particularly violent crime and gun crime. We will continue to do this in a professional and ethical manner, never losing sight of the human elements of com-passion, sensitivity, and caring for all those who live, work, and visit our city.
Please do not lose sight of the incredible work routinely being done by the members of this de-partment and by the law enforcement community throughout the country. There is too much perceived division between the police and the public when in all reality, there is so much more that unites us. We are all connected by our humanity.