A video of an incident involving a man and Westfield police officers has gained a lot of attention on social media.
Alex Perez was on Court Street Tuesday when he started recording the video. He later posted it on Facebook, where it now has more than 1,000 comments and mixed reactions from Westfield residents.
Perez spotted the incident right across the street from The Westfield YMCA when driving on Court Street around 7 p.m. Tuesday night. 22News showed multiple residents the video Perez posted to the Westfield Community Forum on Facebook.
“I thought it was pretty brutal, but it’s a really short clip,” said Westfield resident Emma Banks. “Our first initial thought was oh why is the police department doing this but you don’t know what’s going.”
Westfield Police Captain Michael McCabe told 22News the video shows an incident in which officers were trying to arrest a man who was a subject of a Section 12 order.
Under section 12, officers are directed to bring a person deemed to be a threat to themselves or others to the hospital.
“The order is issued for people who are deemed to be a threat to themselves or others and it specifically directs the police to bring the person immediately to the hospital,” McCabe said.
McCabe said the man would not comply with the order and was taken to the ground, where he continued to resist.
“Because of his clothing and state of mind, both electronic and chemical applications were ineffective. At some point during the incident the man rolled on to his back and swung at the primary and secondary officer which is where I believe the video picks up,” McCabe said. “The reporting officers version of events matches the video.”
“At first glance, it looks like the cops are using excessive force but after hearing the story I think they handled the situation alright,” said James Nicholson of Westfield.
McCabe said all use of physical force is reviewed by the police chief. No additional information will be available about the incident until the Westfield Police Department has finished looking into the issue.