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Does video show Hopewell officer using excessive force during traffic stop?

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Posted at 8:41 PM, Dec 23, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-23 20:43:42-05

HOPEWELL, Va. -- A Hopewell judge says video recorded during a traffic stop show a police officer using excessive force with a Taser. The police department disagrees but admits additional training is being considered in the wake of in the incident. esting .

Video of police using a Taser on Kavaun Perry after traffic stop last February is striking a nerve with some people in Hopewell.

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Perry was later indicted on drug charges, but his attorney claims that things never should've gotten that far, arguing that the officer who first pulled him over had no legal basis to do so.

“He claimed the license tag was tilted slightly to the right, which we don't even believe that that was a violation of the code,” said Mufeed Said, Perry's attorney.

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Last week a Hopewell judge threw out the charges and sided with Perry's attorney.

“More importantly, the judge ruled that the use of force for a license plate infraction was excessive,” Said explained. “And he was repeatedly tased and he repeatedly told the officer he could not remove his hands. All he could simply say was, ‘I can't, I can't.’”

However, Hopewell police maintain that the officer did nothing wrong and did not use excessive force. They said the video proves that Perry was a threat because the Taser did not affect his ability to crawl away. They also said he refused to follow orders from officers at the scene and attempted to hide evidence under the car.

Lt. Damon Stoker

Lt. Damon Stoker

“In the area where the individual was reaching there was a stolen firearm as well as some narcotics. So that the officer’s fears and suspicions were in fact correct,” said Lt. Damon Stoker with Hopewell police.

“If full NMI is achieved with both of the probes have engaged part of his body he would not be able to, as you see in the video, you would not see him crawling. You would not see him reaching or things like that,” Cpt. Michael Whittington said.

Cpt. Michael Whittington

Cpt. Michael Whittington

John F. Keohane, Hopewell’s chief of police, said that there is a lot most people do not understand about the video. But he said the video has demonstrated the need for additional training for the department. In fact, he wants to work with the commonwealth’s attorney, the judicial system and the community on that training.