Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - A YouTube video has surfaced that alleges police brutality by the Buffalo Police Department, and now six officers have been placed on administrative leave.
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On April 24, the video was uploaded showing Buffalo Police officers allegedly using excessive force while apprehending a black male outside a corner store.
In the video, the authors say you can see that officer knee into and punch the victim while trying to apprehend him. Towards the end of the video, you can see officers kicking and punching the victim while he was handcuffed and laying face down, pleading for them to stop.
The video (below) video was first posted on a Facebook page belonging to a group that encourages people to videotape their encounters with local police.
|On Monday, Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda held a news conference saying that an internal investigation is underway.
"At this point the investigation is proceeding rapidly," Derenda said. "We're working on identifying the officers involved in the incident. We believe the incident took place on April 19th at approximately 10:30 at Ontario and Philadelphia Streets."
Later Monday, Derenda announced that six police officers have been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.
"My first reaction when I watched the video to completion was one of being shocked and disturbed at what I saw," said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.
"I am satisfied with (the administrative leave)," Brown said. "I believe as soon as every officer that was on scene was identified, the Police Commissioner moved to put all of those officers on administrative leave. I am very comfortable that was the right call. Now, it's important for the investigation to go forward in a comprehensive and thorough matter."
Brown did not say whether or not the officers would be paid while on leave.
Derenda said there were six officers involved, and Police have other video beside what was taken from the cell phone to help them in their investigation.
Buffalo Police have been in contact with the FBI and District Attorney about a possible civil case resulting from the incident.
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What Buffalo Police are dealing with is part of a growing trend that according to some can actually help police in the long term.
shows several officers subduing a man on a Buffalo street at night.
In recent days there have been similar cases in Green Bay Wisconsin, The Bronx and Atlanta. A broader search of YouTube finds similar videos this month from in British Columbia, Canada and New Delhi India.
"It kind of keeps us on our toes. Keeps us honest, I think it's a good thing," former San Francisco Police Chief Tony Ribera .recently told KFTU after a similar case there earlier this month.
Buffalo Police Chief Dan Derenda had similar thoughts when asked about the Buffalo case Monday.
"Cameras are a good thing. And people should know that whether cameras are out there or not, inappropriate behavior can't be condoned, will not be tolerated," Derenda said.
University of Albany Criminal Justice Professor Hans Toch studied police internal investigations in one west coast city from 1967 to 1971, and then again in 2010 and 2011.
He found that digital communications- cell phone video and social media.. in the long run has actually had a positive effect-- with many police departments adopting new policies and better policing he says because of the cell phone videos.
Emily Good agrees. Good was at the center of a firestorm after being arrested in Rochester in 2011 and charged with obstruction of justice for taping an incident she saw outside here house. The charges were later dropped and she has become an advocate for more taping, working with community groups to help them become an extra set of eyes against brutality.
" I think that the newer trend of police officers actually wearing camera is a great idea.It's showing that the use of force can be decreased when officers know their interaction is being videotaped, " Good tells WBEN's Brian Mazurowski.Meanwhile, with this sort of thing in mind, .an entrepreneur in Toronto has launched an app that will send every one of your cell phone videos automatically to You Tube to preserve them, and the NAACP has had an online reporting system for such videos since 2009.
“Nationwide, more than 26,000 citizen complaints of police officer use of force were filed with state and local law enforcement agencies in 2002. However, because many incidents are not reported, this number does not capture the full magnitude of the problem,” NAACP President Benjamin Jealous said in a prepared statement
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