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Man hit with baton by TPD officers in viral video speaks out

Posted at 9:10 PM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-19 21:10:46-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — As faith leaders called for truth and transparency Wednesday following a viral video showing a man getting hit by a TPD officer Sunday night, the man in that video decided to speak out.

Jacquez Kirkland is the man on the ground in that eight-second clip.

Kirkland showed up at a press conference held by Rev. R.B. Holmes at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church with his attorney Mutaqee Akbar to tell his side of the story.

"After I got put in handcuffs I was trying to tell the lady that it hurt really bad. But I guess she didn't hear me or wasn't trying to hear so afterward I tensed up my arm to suppress the pain to suppress what she had did," said Kirkland.

Kirkland is the man seen on the ground in the viral video.

It shows one Tallahassee police officer hitting Kirkland with a baton multiple times as two others officers try to hold him down.

"Next thing you know she took me to the ground and the officers that were there had come and came on my back and I was trying to tell them they were hurting me and adjust myself," Kirkland said.

TPD said the officers' actions were justified under their use of force policy.

Kirkland failed a sobriety test after being pulled over. Police said he was found asleep behind the wheel outside of a business on Tennessee Street.

TPD said after Kirkland failed the test, he was then asked to take a breathalyzer and refused. That's when officers put him under arrest.

They said he grabbed an officer's ballistic vest and refused to give them his other hand, which was underneath him and that's when things escalated.

TPD answers to Deputy City Manager Cynthia Barber, who said she's seen the bodycam footage and also believes officers were justified.

"It was active resistance, the bottom line was the young man did not want to be handcuffed he made every effort not to do so including at some point holding a female officer's shirt and vest in his grasp also kicking," Barber said.

Wednesday, Tallahassee ministers and community leaders came together asking for transparency after the department said it would not release body cam video at this time to the public.

"We ask you to give truth, to give revelation," said Pastor Judy Mandrell.

Their goal is to ramp up efforts with the city and the community to prevent incidents like this.

"Pull this community together and not to pull it apart," said Rev. Holmes.

That body cam video and store surveillance are now set to go to the Citizens Police Review Board and TPD's Citizens Advisory Committee for review.