Three police officers have been put on paid administrative leave after videos surfaced of them dragging three University of Alabama students out of an apartment early Sunday and using a stun gun and baton on one of them.
In a news conference Monday, Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steve Anderson said the three officers are on leave pending an internal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the arrest of three students, which was captured on video.
Anderson said he was "deeply disturbed and disappointed" after seeing how the officers responded to a loud music complaint made on Sunday at 2:30 a.m.
Cell phone videos of the incident, shot from three different angles, were provided to BuzzFeed News by a University of Alabama student.
The videos appear to show several Tuscaloosa police officers dragging three students out of an apartment and tasing at least one of them after a confrontation. One of the officers is also seen hitting a male student with his baton.
The three officers on leave include the officer who initially responded to the call and dragged the first student out of the apartment. He has been on the force for eight years, Anderson said.
The second officer on leave, who is seen tasing the student, is a 12-year veteran of the force, while the third officer who is seen hitting the student with a baton has been with the police for two years.
All three students were taken into custody on suspicion of obstruction and resisting arrest. The student who was tased and beaten was also arrested on suspicion of harassment, Anderson said.
The University of Alabama confirmed that the three people arrested were students. In a statement to BuzzFeed News, a spokesperson for the school said officials were "very concerned" for the welfare of the students in the video:
We are aware of the incident, and we remain very concerned about the welfare of all of our students who were there, especially those who were arrested. We have reached out to provide support to them, and we will continue to provide services they need.
The spokesperson added that three university police officers responded to a Tuscaloosa police officer's call for emergency assistance on Sunday and that administrators were reviewing their actions "to verify they acted appropriately."
The city of Tuscaloosa said it had forwarded the videos to internal affairs investigators.
"A full investigation of the circumstances that are depicted in these videos will be conducted and all appropriate measures taken to ensure the integrity of the Tuscaloosa Police Department in serving the citizens of Tuscaloosa," the police department's Facebook statement read.
Anderson said the investigation would include reviewing footage from the cell phone videos captured by students, as well as from the officers' body cameras. Calling the incident "isolated," Anderson said the department would take a look at its training protocol and include additional training on de-escalating similar incidents.
In one video, an officer is heard arguing with the group of people inside the apartment about one of the men touching the officer's arm.
In one of the videos, an officer can be heard telling one of the students to "get out of this apartment right now."
When the student refuses to come out, the rest of the group is heard telling the officer, "He did not touch your arm; we have it on video."
The argument continues with other students telling the officer he can't remove the student from his own apartment. "He is a good boy. Don't you touch him," a woman can be heard saying.
"He is under arrest," the officer can be heard saying.
When people repeatedly ask the officer what the student is being arrested for, the officer does not respond but asks the student to get out of the apartment multiple times.
At one point, the other students attempt to shut the door. The officer then grabs the student while shouting, "Get the fuck out of the apartment."
Several officers are then seen dragging the man out. Other officers run into the apartment, drag two other students out, and pin them on the floor, including one woman who appears to have been filming the incident and who is heard screaming, "I haven't done anything!"
A third video appears to show an officer using a stun gun on the man who is dragged out.
A person is heard yelling, "Holy shit, he's tasing him."
The incident took place at an apartment complex near Buffalo Phil's, a popular hangout for University of Alabama students, the Crimson White reported.
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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