Waterloo Police Officer Disciplined After Repeatedly Jerking On Suspect’s Dreadlocks [VIDEO]
A white officer, clearly angry, repeatedly pulls on the dreadlocks of a black man, who was being arrested following a high-speed chase.
The incident occurred April 19 but the video, which led to an internal investigation and discipline for Officer Adam Wittmayer, has just been released. A prosecutor for the state of Iowa did not charge Wittmayer, figuring that jurors would understand his frustration with the man being arrested. 24-year-old Montavis Keller reportedly nearly hit the arresting officer near the end of a chase that reached speeds of 90 mph and ended with Keller crashing into a house.
There are two videos of the incident below. The first, via the Des Moines Register, has been edited slightly, but PLEASE BE AWARE THERE IS GRAPHIC LANGUAGE IN BOTH.
Officer Wittmayer had put down stop sticks to disable the vehicle Keller was driving. A criminal complaint stated that the vehicle then went around a school bus and in the direction of Wittmayer who "had to run to get out of harm’s way.” The vehicle then crashed into a house, where no one was injured.
Keller, was charged with four felonies after the incident. The charges are for attempting to assault a police officer, possession of 42.5 grams of marijuana with intent to deliver, and eluding police. He had no previous record. Keller's trial is scheduled for later in September.
The attorney for Keller, Tom Frerichs, passed the video along to the FBI this week. He believes the officer should've been fired for his actions. He told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, “I can’t think of any other job in which an employee is allowed to repeatedly hit another person, pull out some of their hair and still keep their job.”
Daniel Trelka, Waterloo Police Chief, says Wittmayer's discipline was "significant," but that details are confidential due to Iowa laws. He said, " I don't condone Officer Wittmayer's conduct whatsoever."
Black Hawk County Attorney Brian Williams had previously asked the Iowa attorney general’s office to review the officer's actions.
Waterloo has an almost all-white police department but has a higher percentage of black citizens than any other city in Iowa. So far in 2016, the city of Waterloo has paid $2.7 million to settle disputes with black residents.