NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) - A video of a weekend arrest in Northampton is getting a lot of views on the internet. And now some are questioning police procedures.
The YouTube video of Northampton Police arresting a suspect early Sunday morning was posted two days ago and has gone viral online.
Warning: Viewer Discretion is advised ; contains material that could be graphic in nature, obscene and/or not suitable for children.
It's a cell-phone video, and as of Wednesday afternoon it had been played more than 49,000 times.
"I came across it on Facebook about two days ago, my friend posted it," said Tom Benson of Westfield.
The video was shot by someone who claims to be an attorney and it shows 26-year-old Jonas Correia of Amherst being pepper sprayed by police, thrown to the ground and arrested. But the video doesn't show much of what happened moments before that.
"It was definitely excessive force; he didn't seem to be making any physical threats to the officers in the video. I don't know what happened prior to the video," said Benson in Northampton Wednesday afternoon.
Northampton Police reports say Correia was yelling loudly at one of the bar's staff when they noticed he tried to punch an employee. One officer grabbed Correia's wrist to stop him but Correia got away. That's when Correia was pepper sprayed and thrown to the ground. He was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
The alleged attorney who shot the video was standing across the street of Tully O'Reilly's when she was capturing the images of Northampton Police arresting that suspect. It happened during a time of night when this area is known to be busy with club goers.
"The person recording it turns it on when they decide that it's a good time to turn it on. We don't know what happened up until that point. You want to sympathize with police because they have a job to do. But I think there's always better ways to handle this stuff," said Matthew Boyce of Northampton.
Both the mayor and the chief of police refused to comment on camera.
Instead referred us to this written statement: "The NPD was summoned to Tully O'Reilly's in response to a series of altercations that took place that night. In the moments before the video started, the arrested individual had attempted to assault a Tully's bouncer and fled the grasp of an NPD officer, and he was then subdued, arrested and placed into custody. The taking of pictures played no role in the arrest. NPD officers are well-versed in the laws concerning videotaping, as clearly demonstrated by their non-interference with the filming of the YouTube video. Appropriate charges have been filed against this individual and will follow the usual procedure through the courts. The NPD is continuing to investigate this matter to assure compliance with all department rules and regulations."
"He doesn't mention the macing at all or the second arrest. He kind of just danced around the real issue that everybody was talking about," said Jess Fiano of the statement.
Correia was arraigned Monday in Hampshire County District Court and plead not guilty to resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. He was released on his own recognizance.