Louisville Metro police officers were seen in a Facebook video forcefully arresting 29-year-old Denorver “Dee” Garrett near Jefferson Square Park, the site of numerous demonstrations over police brutality and the death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was shot and killed by Louisville police in March 2020.
The incident occured on Sunday evening, April 18, at around 4:30 p.m.
In the video, an officer attempting to handcuff Garrett tells him several times to “stop flexing.” The officer then yells “stop” before multiple officers force Garrett to the ground.
The initial officer then punches Garrett’s head at least three times in front of screaming onlookers. It appeared Garrett’s glasses were broken in the struggle and he was left swollen eye.
According to Garrett’s arrest citation, officers were alerted that a man with a large wooden cross was “causing a disturbance to the public and causing a safety issue to motorists” on W. Jefferson at 6th Street.
News outlets reported an arrest citation stated Garrett “was causing a disturbance” in the middle of the street for about 30 minutes prior to his arrest.
The citation said Garrett “resisted the officers’ movements to put his hands together close enough to put handcuffs on” and later the officer took Garrett to the ground and “delivered 2-3 closed hand strikes” to his face.
Garrett was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Police Chief Erika Shields said in a statement to news outlets that the video “raises serious questions and is not consistent with LMPD training.” Shields said the department is investigating the officer’s conduct.
David Mour, Garrett’s attorney said he wants to see the officer who threw the punches punished.
“This officer needs to be immediately suspended without pay, pending the outcome of a criminal investigation. This officer needs to be charged with assault on this young man,” Mour said. “You know there is no way this is an appropriate or proper use of force.”
The video also caught the eye of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, who called photos of Garrett’s injuries “concerning” during a press conference on Monday.
“We need to look at [the video], we need to analyze it, if it’s wrong we need to admit it and we need to learn from it,” Beshear said.