Mobile, AL – A Mobile police officer has been taken off patrol duty while the department investigates a viral video that showed him putting a suspect in a neck restraint during an arrest (video below).
The incident occurred on Tuesday afternoon when Mobile Police Officer Blake Duke stopped 53-year-old Howard Green Jr. for a traffic infraction, AL.com reported.
Green had three open warrants and when officers went to take him into custody, a passerby filmed the arrest on their phone.
The video showed Green on the ground beside a police car while two officers put him in handcuffs and searched him for drugs and weapons.
Green screamed when his arms were pulled behind his back and someone off camera yelled that he had a broken wrist.
So the officers used a second set of handcuffs to secure his arms more loosely.
The video showed Officer Duke standing over Green and then grabbing the suspect by his left arm and hauling him to his feet.
Officer Duke marched Green around the front of the police car and as they got to the other side, the video showed Green twisted to face the officer and spit in his face.
Suddenly, Officer Duke grabbed the suspect and slammed him up against the side of the police car, the video showed.
Then he wrapped his right arm around Green and put him in a neck restraint to hold the suspect’s face away while another officer opened the back door of the cruiser.
Officer Duke tried to put Green in the back of the police car but Green screamed that he had a broken wrist and refused to sit down.
So the officer shoved Green at the waist and pushed him back into the car without hitting his head, the video showed.
Bystanders yelled at Officer Duke and told him they were filming him.
He turned around and replied that he was filming them too.
A moment later he told them to move on before he arrested them for disorderly conduct, the video showed.
Green was charged with failure to obey, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct, in addition to the three original warrants, WBTW reported.
Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste told WALA that he had opened an investigation into the incident and put Officer Duke on desk duty while it was conducted.
Chief Battiste said that the video concerned him but that it was too early to say whether Officer Duke had used excessive force.
The chief said the video appeared to show the suspect spitting in the face of the officer which led to arrest tactics that followed, WALA reported.
“Our goal is to gather all of the facts and then of course hold those individuals within our department, if there were policy violations, accountable for their behavior,” he said.
The chief said investigators would use the videos on social media in addition to officers’ bodycam videos in their investigation, WALA reported.
Court records showed that Green has been arrested more than 20 times since 1993, WALA reported.
But the police chief said that doesn’t matter.
“He could be the worst criminal in the world, but our job is to make sure that we treat all citizens in this community with dignity and respect in the performance of our duties,” Chief Battiste told WALA.
Officer Duke joined the Mobile Police Department in 2018 and was Officer of the Month twice in 2019.
Watch video of the incident here below: