Police say man in widely shared video outside grocery store had committed multiple offenses, had warrants

A bystander’s video of Lawrence police officers arresting a black man outside a grocery store Wednesday night — with her accompanying comments criticizing the police — was widely shared on social media this week. The video showed two officers wrestling with a man on the ground before pinning him, then other officers arriving before he was walked to a patrol car in handcuffs. The person who posted the video, publicly, on her Facebook page described some of what she saw and heard, and called the officers’ response “ridiculous and unnecessary.”

Lawrence police on Friday shared more information about that incident, which led to the arrest of a man who jail records indicate is a 48-year-old New Century resident. Here’s what Officer Derrick Smith, a department spokesman, said in an email to media:

About 11 p.m. Wednesday police were dispatched to Dillons at 1015 W. 23rd St., where a man had reportedly harassed an employee, then went outside and was drinking and cussing at people in the parking lot.

An officer found the man outside the store near the bus stop, with an open can of beer in his hand. The officer told the man he was being detained and not free to leave while police investigated, “but the suspect would not comply and attempted to walk away from the officer.”

Meanwhile, another officer had gone inside to talk to an employee and was told the man stole two grocery sacks of items and a case of beer from the store. That officer joined the other officer outside and they questioned the man about the items, but the man picked up one of the grocery sacks in question and started to walk away.

“The officers attempted to arrest the suspect, but the suspect resisted. Another officer arrived on scene and officers were able to gain control of the suspect and place him into handcuffs after struggling on the ground with the subject for several minutes.”

The man was taken to jail where he was booked on suspicion of theft, interfering with law enforcement and two outstanding warrants for failing to appear in court, according to jail records. According to the jail’s inmate list he remained in custody Friday.

Tonight at the 23rd St Dillon's I watched two white cops talk to a black man, accusing him of stealing his groceries. They didn't ask him for a receipt. They didn't go in to check cameras.They didn't detain or arrest him. He kept telling them he just wanted to go home to his wife, and asking why they were harassing him, as a black man.He tried to walk away and told them he was going home, and they tackled him. He yelled a bit, and struggled, saying that he couldn't breathe, and neither moved. Two more cop cars screeched into the parking lot, and one of the police officers jumped out and also went and put weight on the man.When they finally sat him up, he couldn't hold himself up anymore and fell backwards. They put him in handcuffs and put him, as one of the officers said, "in the cage", referring to the cop car.It was ridiculous and unnecessary and I took 5 minutes of video, most of which is just police officers on top of this man.Thank you to the 6 men who stopped and watched with me. What else can we do, but be witnesses? It's sad that the only thing keeping police officers accountable are passerby witnesses.Please excuse my angry exclamations in the video, and poor videography

Posted by Annastasia Artzer on Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd


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