Man claims he was beaten, tasered by RPD officer

Posted at 12:52 PM, Dec 19, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-19 19:26:13-05

RICHMOND (WTVR) -- A man who claims he was beat up and tasered by a Richmond police officer -- more than a year ago -- told his story outside Richmond City Hall Wednesday.

Anthony Prewitt said the officer pulled him from his car, beat and tasered him during a Sept. 2011 traffic stop. Prewitt said the officer pulled him over for running a red light. Prewitt was driving drunk.

"I do admit to drinking and driving that night. [It was a] very, very poor decision," Prewitt said. "But does that give the police the right to break my civil rights?"

Prewitt said during the beating, another officer sat on the hood of the police cruiser and  blocked the view of the car's dash camera. He said he was thankful when other police officers arrived on scene.

"I do feel that if the backup did not arrive that I would have been shot and possibly killed," Prewitt said. "The backup, in my mind, were angels. I had a strong feeling I would not be shot in the presence of six, seven, eight police officers."

Prewitt said he decided to go public with his story after a Richmond grand jury failed to indict the officer after a hearing earlier this month. He said he felt the grand jury was not made up of his peers and did not represent Richmond's demographic make-up.

"Their ages range from 40 to 80 years old, out of seven there were six Caucasian and one African American sitting on the grand jury," Prewitt said. "I do feel that there was bias there."

Prewitt said he planned to put together a team to help him pursue justice in this case. He said he planned to talk to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

Both the Richmond Police Department and Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney's Office were contacted for comment on this case.

RPD released this statement Wednesday afternoon:

"The Richmond Police Department is conducting an investigation into a complaint received from Anthony Prewitt regarding his arrest in September, 2011.

When Prewitt’s complaint was received in August, 2012, the Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility initiated an investigation. Information was collected and presented to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. Earlier this month, the Commonwealth’s Attorney presented the case to a grand jury which declined to bring criminal charges against the arresting officer.

In accordance with Department guidelines, the administrative phase of the investigation began immediately after court proceedings regarding the matter were complete.

As with other personnel matters, the department will not identify the officer involved nor comment further at this time.

The officer remains on active work status, pending the outcome of the administrative investigation."