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Viral video prompts Tallahassee Police response

Posted at 10:49 PM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-19 11:11:29-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A Tallahassee Instagram user drove through the intersection of Tennessee St. and High Rd. around 9:30 Sunday night, capturing a video that's gone viral in the 24 hours since.

Tallahassee Police Deputy Chief Maurice Holmes says the three blows to the leg you see officers issuing here came as four of them were trying to arrest 26-year-old Jacquez Kirkland for driving under the influence.

"They told him to put his hands behind his back. He did not comply. At the time, he resisted by grabbing one of the officers by his ballistic vest and also grabbing the other by the arm," explained Tallahassee Police Department Deputy Chief Maurice Holmes.

That's why TPD says their use of force was justified. But, after seeing the video, community leaders like Whitfield Leland feel differently and want to see the officers' body camera video as soon as possible.

"I feel like, with three people on top of you, there's no way the fourth officer should be swinging at you with a nightstick," said Leland.

He leads The Community Roundtable, an organization that works to create equal opportunities and make Tallahassee more equitable for all.

At this time, TPD says they do not plan to release the body camera footage, but Holmes says, "It's going to be forwarded to our Citizen's Review Board as well as our citizens advisory council for further review and or recommendations that they may have."

Kirkland was charged with driving under the influence and resisting arrest with violence. Police say at that time of the incident he refused medical treatment.