SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The City of Syracuse wants its citizens to have the chance to review the police department’s brand new “Use of Force” policy before leaders release the results of a review into a controversial arrest.
Syracuse Police Chief Kenton Buckner has been working on a new “Use of Force” policy for months, but Mayor Ben Walsh tells NewsChannel 9 the arrest gives the city an opportunity to release the updated guidelines.
On May 31, the passenger of an SUV was recording as Syracuse Police officers pulled over Shaolin Moore, 23, of Syracuse on the city’s west side, for having his music too loud. The officer warned Moore to get out.
His friend watched as he was pinned to the ground and handcuffed. Another officer forced the passenger to end the video.
The 30-second clip has been seen thousands of times on social media, angering some members of the community about the officer’s use of force.
It was “excessive” in the words of Common Council President Helen Hudson.
“The arrest on May 31 really brought into the focus the ongoing challenges we have in developing and nurturing those relationships between the police and the community. So those are conversations that need to continue,” said Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh.
In the arrest report obtained by NewsChannel 9, the officer defends the force, claiming Moore refused to get out of the SUV after being ordered “several times.”
The officer notes he had just come from a police detail in nearby Skiddy Park, where drugs and an illegal gun were confiscated.
The officer writes in his narrative, “In my experiences, when subjects refuse to step out of vehicles, they are trying to conceal contraband or a weapon on their person or inside the vehicle. Due to seeing this vehicle in an area where a loaded firearm was recovered moments earlier and Moore’s uncooperative behavior, I became fearful that Moore could be concealing a weapon.”
The officer claims even after on the ground, Moore reached for his waistband, another warning to police he may have a weapon, the officer claims.
The officer admits to hitting the suspect intentionally as a distraction tactic.
The passenger was not charged. Moore was charged with a noise ordinance violation and resisting arrest.
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh and Syracuse Police Chief Kenton Buckner will hold a news conference on Monday morning and will release the results of their review of the May 31st incident.
Additionally, the Mayor and the Chief say they will be hosting a community forum on the topic of the use of force by police, which is tentatively scheduled for June 28th. Full details will be released at a later time.
Editorial Note: NewsChannel 9 was made aware of the video on Saturday, June 1st, but decided not to report its contents until now. After several lengthy discussions between our news team and managers, it was decided that, in order to avoid escalating tensions, NewsChannel 9 would hold off on reporting any details of this situation until police announced plans to publicly release the results of their review.
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