A New Mexico police department is facing backlash after cellphone video started circulating, accusing officers of excessive force.
The people who posted it claimed it all stemmed from a case of jaywalking.
KRQE News 13 spoke to Hobbs Police Chief Chris McCall, who describes a different story. He believes his officers acted appropriately.
“I think they were put in a bad situation and they reacted to their training,” said Chief Chris McCall.
McCall said officers were conducting a traffic stop when they saw two people standing in the middle of the road down the block.
After the stop, they went to warn them to get out of the street. That’s when they say another man — Shamus Wright — jumped into the mix.
“He had been asked several times to step away from the contact. He refused to. They asked him for his name, his refused to give his name,” said McCall.
Wright was then arrested, but KRQE News 13 is told it wasn’t without a struggle and multiple bystanders starting to come in closer.
“It becomes a concern for your safety when you’re an officer in that situation. Your full attention is already on the individual who is resisting,” said McCall.
During Wright’s arrest, they said one of the people standing in the street, Kentoine Penman, refused to follow orders, backing away and pushing one of the officers in the chest before sprinting off.
Video taken by a bystander shows an officer chasing him and throwing him to the ground, while another put him in cuffs.
A taser was brought out, but the chief says it was never used.
They say they later found Penman had meth, cocaine and marijuana on him.
“It’s unfortunate this ended the way it did since it could’ve been a very simple routine police contact,” said McCall.
Two others were also taken in for resisting arrest.