CINCINNATI – A protester says a Cincinnati Police officer used a Taser on him because he "flipped off" another officer during a disturbance near the University of Cincinnati Saturday evening, and video may support him.
Daniel Joseph, 24, claims he was singled out for the shock and he was in fear for his life. This happened after video shows Joseph and other marchers take over Calhoun Street, walking in the road, blocking traffic and refusing police orders to move to the sidewalk.
"I'm walking down the street and one of the cops tried to push me over to the side with his vehicle. He comes over and tries to push me over, so I flipped him off, which is not illegal at all," Joseph said. "Soon as I turn around, I saw that cop jump out of his car, jump on his radio, single me out, which at that point I was in fear for my life."
Joseph was one of four people protesting police violence who were arrested on Calhoun Street, according to a police report. Police described it as a melee with frightened customers fleeing restaurants and bars and marchers taunting officers.
Several videos posted on social media and Web sites show the tasing and what happened leading up to it.
In the video below, an unmarked police car passes Joseph and Joseph appears to gesture through the window. (See that starting at 0:20). A police cruiser passes the unmarked car and an officer jumps out of the passenger seat, yells "Stop" as Joseph tries to run by, and uses the Taser on Joseph. (See the Taser use at 0:44):
Warning: Video of the Taser incident may be disturbing to some. Obscenities are heard throughout.
Another video, taken from a different angle, shows an officer step out of the unmarked car and point in Joseph's direction as a police cruiser pulls up beside it. The officer from the unmarked car says, "The guy (unintelligible)," and the police cruiser follows Joseph a short way down the street to where Joseph is shocked and arrested. (See that starting at 1:55 in the video below):
The arrest report said Joseph was shocked while trying to flee despite being told to stop. Other marchers crowded around with cameras and cell phones and raised their voices to protest the use of the Taser. One officer pulled out his night stick and told other marchers to get back.
Police will review the tasing, according to Lt. Col. Dave Bailey, Interim Executive Assistant Chief.
"There was one Taser incident. It's going to be under review and we haven't looked at that yet," Bailey said as he stood out on Calhoun Monday afternoon.
Bailey said he was greeted by students and business owners grateful to police for restoring order.
"When I was coming back up the street, what I was getting from some of the students and people from the businesses were 'Thank you,'" he said.
Bailey said the protest started as a peaceful march to the site a half-mile away where UC officer Ray Tensing shot and killed Sam DuBose during a traffic stop in July. That march included members of DuBose's family and family members of Samantha Ramsey, John Caldwell III and Tamir Rice -- other Tri-Staters shot to death by police in the past two years.
But the protest spun out of control when it came back to UC, he said.
"You can imagine on Saturday night what this street looks like - businesses, people all over, traffic," Bailey said. "It seemed to the police that the intent of the group really changed at that point from a Sam DuBose tribute to 'This is going to be an interruption.'"
Bailey noted that some Calhoun marchers chanted obscenities at police, and the videos prove it.
"F--- you, killer cops," some spat at a line of officers standing fewer than 10 feet away, blocking them from retaking the street. Those cops stood firm and unbowed.
Watch that at 3:30 in the video below. Warning: Obscenities will be disturbing to some.
"We respect the right to protest. We get that," Bailey said, "but when we're tying up traffic affecting businesses and taunting - and there was a lot of that that went on on the route ... Participants really were more concerned with taunting police than anything else."
The owner of Adriatico's, Tom Erbeck, said he was worried about his business.
"If people don't want to be in this neighborhood because of protesters or they don't feel safe in the neighborhood, they're not going to come to my business nor any others up here," Erbeck said.
The four people arrested – all from out of town – were:
> Joseph, 24, of Elyria, Ohio;
> Benjamin Virnston, 25, of Springfield, Ohio;
> Jordan Freshour, 26, of Dayton, Ohio;
> Talis Gage, 31, of Yellow Springs, Ohio.
All were charged with obstructing official business. Joseph was also charged with pedestrian violation.
These videos were shot by CopBlock and posted on their Web site, CopBlock.com. They are also responsible for the titles on the videos. You can see more videos and read more about the incident there and at CounterCurrentNews.com.