The video’s been seen online several million times.
It shows Bellevue police officers using a taser to arrest an African-American teenager as they took him to the ground. The video was posted on gossip site Media Takeout’s Facebook page.
Many online called the use of force into question. The former head of the local NAACP chapter wondered why it took a handful of cops to restrain the juvenile. He called the use of force ‘excessive’.
Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett said police were called Saturday to the nearby Bellevue Square Mall. He said security reported the teen was banned from the property last year and was trespassing. He added police then recognized the boy as a car theft suspect. After a brief foot chase, he said police found him in a nearby parking lot.
“My kneejerk reaction was absolutely not; race would not have played a role in this. However, we’re going to investigate this incident thoroughly,” said Chief Mylett. “It appears at this point, and again it’s premature, that he exhibited certain behaviors that are consistent with him not complying with the directions of the officers.”
There is a person blocking the camera at times. Chief Mylett said that’s a private security guard and not a Bellevue officer.
Chief Mylett said he knows many are watching how his department handles the investigation into this incident.
“We can’t ignore the facts that there are white police officers and a juvenile African-American male that are involved in this incident,” he said. “There is a heightened awareness when we’re using force on a juvenile, specifically a young African-American juvenile.”
But he asked for the public’s patience.
“Give us time to investigate this. Please don’t jump to conclusions based on one minute and 47 seconds of an interaction,” he said.