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Richmond Police seek witnesses to in-store incident involving officer and shopper

Posted at 3:28 PM, Mar 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-09 15:28:31-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- A situation involving Richmond Police and a shopper at the Family Dollar store on Westover Hills Boulevard in South Richmond remains under investigation.

Richmond Police were called to the store on Monday afternoon to investigate reports of a woman believed to be shoplifting.

'Officer [Graham] Lang arrived and was alerted by management that the larceny suspect [33-year-old Alecia Nelson] was at the point of sale. Officer Lang attempted to conduct a lawful detention of Ms. Nelson by giving verbal commands regarding the need to detain her for further investigation," a Richmond Police spokesperson wrote in an email. "The suspect refused to cooperate with the officer’s lawful command to which she verbally and physically resisted."

In an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Nelson said the officer used excessive force.

“I’m humiliated from being beaten and accused of something I didn’t do,” Nelson told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Video recorded by another shopper showed some of the aftermath of the situation in which Officer Lang ended up on top of Nelson in the store while attempting to detain her.

"In response to her noncompliance and physical resistance, the officer used force to gain compliance and that force is presently being investigated to include video footage that precedes the video being circulated on social media at this time," the Richmond Police spokesperson continued. "The lawful detention would have included temporary detainment and questioning to determine facts surrounding the truth of the allegation."

Nelson was charged with assaulting a law enforcement officer.

Richmond Police launched an internal investigation into Officer Lang's action.

Lang remains on duty.

As video of the incident spread on social media, Richmond Police asked for witnesses to come forward to help with the investigation.

Witnesses can call 804-646-0400 to help with the internal investigation and/or 804-646-6733 to help with the criminal investigation.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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