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Villa Rica Police Respond to Viral Video of Officers Arresting a Suspect

Villa Rica Police responded to allegations of use of excessive force over the weekend, after a short edited video, recorded from yards away, makes the rounds on social media. Seen in the approximately 30 second video, are three officers struggling to keep a white male suspect face down on the back of a police vehicle while trying to place hand cuffs around his wrists. As the suspect resisted, one officer is seen elbowing the suspect in the back and another knees the suspect in the back of the leg.

But, according to the Villa Rica PD, the video does not show that the suspect resisted arrest after over staying his welcome at a local pool hall.
The incident, which occurred after the suspect was escorted from Stix Bar and Grill on Bankhead Highway, was actually the third time that police had spoken with the suspect on Saturday.

The first, earlier in the day, followed an anonymous call that the man stepped out into traffic. When police arrived, they spoke with the suspect, but had no witnesses on the scene to prove he disrupted traffic.

Villa Rica Police Captain Keith Shaddix said, “Then they get a call at the Food Depot parking lot, which is right next door to Stix, he is yelling at people. When we get there he said that he was preaching and sharing his beliefs and his god. They talked to him about not bothering people and so forth. Then they get the call at 6:00 PM. He ordered food and did not have any money to pay for it. They didn’t want to prosecute for debt services, they just wanted him to leave but he refused to leave. You had customers complaining about bothering them and he was asking customers for drugs.”

Shaddix said police on the scene offered to drive the suspect home, and he initially accepted.

Captain Shaddix said body cam footage shows what happened after that:

“He starts to get into the car and then suddenly he comes back out and says that he is not leaving and he is going back inside the bar. The officers said that they did not want him there and that he had to leave. It came to the point where he had to leave, let them take him somewhere or they would place him under arrest. He declined the first two options, the officer put him under arrest. When they started to hand cuff him, he starts struggling and turned to fight. They pushed him over the hood of the car to try to secure him. He pulled his hand in front of his belly and they were not sure if he was reaching for something and they are struggling with him.”

Shaddix said body cam footage showed the officers striking the suspect. He continued saying that it was an attempt to force the suspect to release his arm and allow it to be brought behind his back.

Several people questioned via social media, “Why did it take three officers to restrain the suspect?”

“If it had been one officer fighting this guy, someone would have gotten hurt. If it had been tow there, the fight would have still gone on a little bit longer and the longer it goes on, the better the chance that someone would have gotten hurt. Nothing in the law says that it has to be one on one and that we have to be fair when we fight somebody. We are supposed to do the job but we stack odds in our favor when we can. Why would I tell officers to stand back to keep this fair?”

On Sunday, Shaddix said that based on the information available at this time the VRPD feels that the force used by the officers was appropriate. He said the administration will continue to review the available video and reports and conclude a full investigation later this week.

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