Problem Solvers


Petersburg teen says video shows officers assaulting him

Posted at 10:39 PM, Jun 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-13 18:56:14-04

UPDATE: Police respond to teen’s arrest captured on cell phone video

PETERSBURG, Va. -- A Petersburg teenager told CBS 6 he was assaulted by at least one local police officer outside an apartment complex on Tuesday while he was filming the officers with his smartphone.

Devin Thomas, 19, showed CBS 6 Investigative Reporter Melissa Hipolit the video he said he shot on Tuesday at Petersburg East Apartments.

It shows two police officers yelling at the person filming, telling them to get inside, and then the camera phone falls to the ground.

CBS 6 cannot tell what is taking place when the camera phone is on the ground, but Thomas said one of the officers began beating him.

Devin Thomas

Thomas sent CBS 6 News this photo late Thursday. (SOURCE: Devin Thomas)

“He just grabbed me and slammed me,” Thomas said.

Thomas showed us scars on his chin, ear, chest, and arm that he said are from the incident.

Thomas said he went to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a concussion.

“They hit me in the side of my face with a club, and I was bleeding really bad,” Thomas said.

Court papers Thomas showed up said police charged him with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, which are charges Thomas said are unwarranted.

“I did nothing wrong,” Thomas said.

Petersburg Police Department Spokeswoman Esther Hyatt confirmed they are investigating the incident.

A Lieutenant with the department told CBS 6 it involved a Prince George police officer.

Prince George Police said a complaint was filed Thursday about one of their officers allegedly assaulted a man for filming him.

Prince George Police also said they are investigating the complaint.

We showed CBS 6 Legal Expert Todd Stone the video, and he said Thomas’s actions were perfectly legal.

“Generally speaking, people in the public have a right to film the police as long as they're not stepping into the crime scene and obstructing justice,” Stone said.

Thomas said he was not obstructing anything, and now he wants justice.

“They need to be stopped for real,” Thomas said.

Depend on CBS 6 News for updates on this important local story.