MENTOR, OH (WOIO) - The family of a man accused of assaulting two Mentor police officers in January says video of the incident paints a different picture.
James Buckley Jr., 30, of Mentor has been charged with two counts of assault on a peace officer, resisting arrest, obstruction of official business, possession of marijuana <100g, possession of marijuana paraphernalia and open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle in connection with the Jan. 21 incident.
Surveillance video sent exclusively to Cleveland 19 News shows Buckley, an employee of Vehicles Unlimited, entering the Mentor Ave. business at 5:36 a.m. on Jan. 21.
Ten seconds after the door closes behind Buckley, a police officer can be seen approaching Buckley's pickup truck and looking inside the vehicle with a flashlight.
According to the police report, the "officer was investigating a suspicious person in the lot."
After looking into Buckley's vehicle, the officer then approaches the Vehicles Unlimited door and motions for Buckley to come outside.
At 5:38 a.m., a second police officer can be seen entering the video frame. The second officer then turns and walks away, and reenters the frame about two minutes later.
At 5:41 a.m., both police officers approach the business and one officer can be seen opening the door.
The surveillance footage shows a struggle immediately ensues after the officer opens the door. It is unclear if Buckley crosses the threshold on his own or if one of the officers pulled him out.
During the struggle, the officers can be seen punching and kicking Buckley.
Once the officers get Buckley onto the ground, his hands are placed behind his back.
The surveillance footage then shows one of the officers punch Buckley in his face while his arms are still behind his back.
Buckley's mugshot was posted on the Mentor Police Department's Facebook page, along with a synopsis of the incident that says Buckley "punched our officers and was taken into custody following a brief struggle."
Buckley is currently locked up in the Lake County Jail in lieu of bond. His assault and resisting arrest charges were recently bound over to the Lake County Court of Common Pleas.
Cleveland 19 spoke with Buckley's sister by phone on Thursday afternoon.
"It's not OK for police or a person to treat a human being like that, whether you're a police officer or not," said Ann Marie Buckley.
Buckley said her brother had refused to exit the building upon the officer's initial request because he feared for his safety.
"They're supposed to be doing what's right. It's not like he was at a place where he shouldn't have been. He had a key to the shop, so what does that mean?" said Ann Marie Buckley." Any normal civilian, they're just gonna rip out of their place of work and throw him on the ground and punch him in the face? I just wanna get this issue resolved, not have my brother become another part of the system."
Buckley says her brother has a long history with the Mentor Police Department, but claims recently officers have been harassing him at his place of work.
Tony Kinds, co-owner of Vehicles Unlimited, confirms police contacted him on the morning of Jan. 21 and had contacted him previously, questioning whether or not Buckley was supposed to be on the property – which he was.
Cleveland 19 has reached out to the Mentor Police Department regarding the incident and the officers involved. We've yet to receive a response.