Tennessee agents probe police beating from traffic violation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is probing why police officers in the town of Oakland kicked down the door of a 25-year-old Black man and violently arrested him on accusations of speeding and running a stop sign.

Outrage about the arrest began to spread as video posted on social media showed officers chasing Brandon Calloway through the home, attempting to stun him, and beating him bloody before dragging him away.

According to a police affidavit, Calloway failed to stop at a stop sign on Saturday at about 7:30 p.m. He was then clocked driving 32 mph in a 20 mph (51 kph in a 32 kph) zone before an officer attempted a traffic stop. Calloway refused to pull over and continued driving until he reached a house, where he pulled into the driveway and ran inside.

The affidavit says that later Calloway and others were outside speaking with the first officer when a second officer arrived. The officers said they needed to detain Calloway, and he ran back inside the house. The officers kicked down the front door and followed Calloway upstairs, accordingto the affidavit. It said he ran into a room and locked the door. Officers then kicked down that door, used a stun gun on him and began to hit him with a baton, it added.

The incident happened in Oakland, Tennessee, a small town about 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of Memphis. Calloway is charged with evading arrest, resisting a stop, disorderly conduct and speeding.

The family has retained an attorney and referred all requests for comment to him. The attorney, Andre Wharton, did not immediately return messages left with him on Friday.

Wharton told WREG-TV in Memphis that the beating left Calloway with stitches in his head and limited visibility. He said the family wants the officers responsible to be held accountable.

“Brandon was assaulted in a brutal fashion. I describe it as animalistic,” he told the station. “The pictures are horrific. He’s fortunate to be here to stand up and express through his presence here he wants to see some accountability,”

Calloway’s sister, Raven Calloway, posted to Facebook that her brother is a 25-year-old graduate of the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. She wrote that he is “a young black man with a positive mindset, that’s just trying to make a great life for himself!”

“My family and I are just thankful he’s still alive,” she wrote.

Keith Taylor, an adjunct assistant professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and former New York City Police assistant commissioner, said there’s not enough public information to know yet whether the officers should have acted differently.

“Ultimately, if police don’t arrest someone who requires arrest, they’re going to be seen as not doing their job,” Taylor said. “In situations that don’t require an arrest, that can be deescalated, that is what police should be doing.”

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