VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Beach Police Department is investigating the force used by two officers during an arrest at the Oceanfront over the weekend.
10 On Your Side is also investigating, after two cell phone videos of the incident were posted on WAVY News’ Facebook page. We still don’t have the entire incident on tape, but we do know more about what happened around midnight Saturday at the Oceanfront.
The first video shows three Virginia Beach officers arresting a man, who is face-down on the ground. Some say the officers used excessive force, but 10 On Your Side wants you to be the judge — you can watch the video in the media player above, but be warned: it might be hard to watch.
In that video, a crowd watches two officers holding 27-year-old D’Vondray Terrell McIntyre on the ground, their knees on his back. At least one of the officers appears to punch McIntyre in the back or side three times, and then a third officer runs into the picture and forcefully knees the suspect in the head, also three times.
Virginia Beach police say the arrest happened Sunday, just before 1 a.m. That’s when officers were told about a dispute at Sandbar, a club in the 2100 block of Atlantic Avenue.
Sandbar’s owner, Billy Baldwin, told 10 On Your Side his staff said the door manager denied McIntyre entry, but he tried to push his way in. When the door manager stepped in front of him, McIntyre hit him in the chin, according to Baldwin’s staff.
10 On Your Side’s Deanna LeBlanc talked to McIntyre, who is from Wylie, Texas. He admits he got into a scuffle with the bouncer and admits he threw a punch.
” … and when I tried to get in, he pushed me, and then he was all up on me,and I thought he was about to swing, so I swung at him,” McIntyre said. “And after that, I just left.”
At the scene, police say someone pointed McIntrye out as an assault suspect, and when officers approached him, police say he assaulted an officer and then led them on a five-minute foot pursuit.
Ethan Fogle said he watched police respond from outside the store where he works nearby.
“It was verbal at first, and then the officer came in. The guy pushed him back, and then, at that point, it came to like a wrestling match,” Fogle said. “The cop took him to the ground. Two other cops across the street came over and were basically trying to hold him down. He wrestled them off, got tased, pulled the tasers out of his back and then just took off.”
Fogle said what he saw is the same as the struggle shown in a second video posted to WAVY News’ Facebook page. In that video, police officers are trying to take down McIntyre, and appear to use a stun gun on him.
10 On Your Side left a message with VBPD to learn more about that video, but they have not confirmed the charges against McIntyre are connected to the second video.
McIntyre said he has seen the second video, but still maintains he was not assaulting police. He says he thought the bouncer, not police came after him. So he fought to get free.
” … and I heard a ‘hold on,’ and that’s when I got paranoid that it was more security guards, because he had three big security guards around him. And that’s when I just started running,” McIntrye said.
Once free, McIntyre claims he ran until he realized police not bouncers, were chasing him.
“I turned around and saw one of the police officers with a Taser, and he was about to Tase me, and he said, ‘stop,’ and I was like, ‘woah,’ I stopped,” McIntyre told WAVY.com over the phone.
Police say McIntrye assaulted a second officer during the pursuit down Atlantic Avenue, and then officers took him down in front of Club Lunesea, where they claim he continued to resist arrest. He was charged with two counts assault of a police officer, assault and battery, resisting arrest and obstructing justice.
McIntrye says that’s where the stories don’t add up. “I’m not okay with the fact that they said I assaulted and battered a police officer. I never did that,” he said. “Common sense would tell me not to do that.”
McIntrye also said he was not resisting when he was lying on the ground — he said he simply couldn’t get his hand free.
“I was telling them I couldn’t breath because I had my arm under my abdomen, and they were like on my back. So, I couldn’t pull it out,” he said. “So that’s one reason why they probably thought I was resisting, because I couldn’t’ get my arm out.”
McIntyre’s face is scratched from when the officer’s knee pushed his head against the pavement. But other than being frustrated, he said he’s okay.
“I just want people to know that I’m not a criminal, for one, and I was not reaching for anything,” he said. “And I was pretty much in a bad situation.”
He said this is the first time he’s ever had a run-in with the law, but doesn’t deny he did something wrong. However, he believes the officers acted wrongly, as well.
“I’ve never been in that type of situation. I’ve never gotten in any type of trouble like that before, and for me to get in that type of trouble in front of a whole crowd of people, it’s embarrassing,” he told WAVY.com.
A Virginia Beach police spokesman said the officers who appear in the cell phone video are not being placed on any type of leave.
Virginia Beach Police Chief Jim Cervera has requested an internal investigation into the officers’ use of force. A VBPD spokesman said the department is not only evaluating tactics used in this incident (to see if they are in line with policy), but the department is also re-evaluating what kind of tactics are okay to use when applying force to a suspect.
10 On Your Side looked into Virginia Beach police’s use of force policy. While it does not list which tactics are or are not acceptable, it does say this: “the reasonableness of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with 20/20 vision of hindsight.”
WAVY.com also looked into the police policy on reporting use of force. We discovered the officer who uses any force must immediately report it to his supervisor, but that he has 30 days to file the paperwork and send it up the chain of command. So, it’s likely that had 10 On Your Side not shown police the cell phone video, the chief would not be reviewing the use of force until next month, if even at all.
10 On Your Side asked police for the city’s video of the incident — the city has cameras up and down Atlantic Avenue. We wanted to see if McIntyre assaulted the officers, but police said video from those cameras will not be made available. They have not given a reason for withholding the video.
10 On Your Side also asked to interview Virginia Beach Police Chief Jim Cervera — we wanted to see if he had any issues with what he saw in the video, or if maybe he wanted to speak out in support of his officers — but we were told he’s simply too busy.