Accused of using excessive force while arresting two brothers, two South Carolina police officers have been placed on leave after a video of the incident recently became viral on social media.
Around 2 p.m. on Wednesday, the Rock Hill Police Department Violent Crimes Unit along with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents pulled over Ricky Price for allegedly making an illegal turn and changing lanes unlawfully. According to a statement from the Rock Hill Police Department, Price was talking to his brother on his cellphone and giving him the location of the traffic stop when officers approached Price’s car.
Using a K-9 to search Price’s vehicle, the officers reportedly found two bags of marijuana before arresting Price and placing him in handcuffs. As the cops began to search Price, his brother, Travis Price, arrived at the scene and allegedly shoved officers who retaliated by slamming him against a large gas tank.
But according to a witness’ cellphone video, Travis stood with his hands in the air when an officer abruptly shoved him against the tank. Three cops tackled Travis to the ground despite the fact the he did not appear to be fighting back.
According to the police statement, the officers decided to remove Ricky Price’s handcuffs despite the fact that they clearly did not have control over the scene. They removed his cuffs in order to collect the jewelry from him while three other officers tackled his brother to the ground.
The officers claim that Ricky Price attempted to flee and threw several punches when the officers removed his cuffs, but the video only shows the cops repeatedly striking Price as he took a few steps backward before falling to the pavement. With both brothers pinned to the ground, an officer punched Ricky Price multiple times, causing his face to bleed.
After the police allegedly found a 9mm pistol and a Crown Royal bag containing crack cocaine in Ricky Price’s car, he was charged with possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, carrying a pistol unlawfully, unlawful possession of a firearm by a convict, and resisting arrest. Travis Price was charged with hindering police.
“There is no reason for the level of force we saw on that video yesterday. There’s no reason for that,” stated the family’s attorney, Justin Bamberg, during a press conference on Thursday. “Law enforcement though they broke the law, decided to arrest them and decided to charge them, but somehow they forgot just because you thought someone broke the law that you get to punish them in the process and that’s now how things work here in America. You’re innocent until proven guilty.”
According to Bamberg, Ricky Price suffered a broken nose and was in a wheelchair due to the injuries that he endured from the arrest. On Thursday, Rock Hill Police Chief Chris Watts confirmed that two of the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation and a review conducted by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).