HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The Huntsville Police Department tells News 19 it is investigating an incident captured Sunday night on a Facebook Live video showing several officers struggling with a man on the ground and one Huntsville police officer stomping on the man’s leg.
The incident occurred at the Mapco gas station on University Drive and the video has more than 11,000 views on Facebook and thousands more on Twitter.
It’s unclear what happened prior to the live stream’s start. The man who recorded the encounter, Bruce Turner, said he was told by a store clerk that the man had been harassing women in the store. Turner told News 19 he noticed one officer was engaged with the man. Turner then walked to the back of the store to get water, and as more officers entered the store he began recording the encounter. When the clip begins the man being detained is already face down on the ground and someone is screaming for help in the background.
Two officers appear to struggle with the man on the ground when another officer runs into the frame and immediately begins stomping on the man’s leg and shouting “stop resisting.”
The video is about a minute and a half long. As it ends, officers are seen lifting the man to his feet and begin walking him out of the store.
News 19 asked the Huntsville Police Department for comment and details about the encounter, including what led officers to respond to the scene and if the behavior recorded in the video follows police department policy.
An HPD spokesman said they’d have a response, “in the coming days.”
Huntsville City Councilman Devyn Keith commented on the Facebook video, saying he considered what happened in the video “reckless use of force.”
“My issue and why I am baffled is at the fact he storms in at the top and automatically goes to stomping,” Keith wrote. “The other officer(s) start to restrain and state (communicate). The original officer still in what seems to be body control…. never throws a punch… the Stomping Officer never aides (sic) in control.”
News 19 reached out to Keith for comment and was still waiting for a response late Monday afternoon.
Late Monday afternoon News 19 asked for the body cam video from officers at scene.
Based on jail records, and a later shot in the video, it appears the man grabbed by police is 22-year-old Kemontae Hobbs of Huntsville. He was charged with obstructing government operations and resisting arrest Sunday.
Hobbs pleaded guilty in October 2020 of obstructing government operations. He appealed that ruling to circuit court and is set to go on trial for that charge in late June.