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Police in Delaware have launched an internal investigation after footage was posted to social media showing an arresting officer repeatedly punching and elbowing a teenager in the head during a drug bust.
New Castle County police officers responded to reports of “on-going drug transactions” and noticed an “odor of marijuana” upon arrival at the scene at roughly 5pm local time Friday evening. The main suspect was asked to dismount from a dirtbike in the driveway of his friend’s house and was then being tackled to the ground while doing so, when a “struggle ensued,” according to testimony from Jaiden Palmer, the friend who filmed the incident.
The as-yet-unidentified cops are already standing over and restraining the teenager when the eyewitness footage begins, while one of the arresting officers can be seen punching him repeatedly in the head, shouting “Stop resisting!”
The 16-year-old male suspect was subsequently identified as Roger Darnell Brown and he was found to have “numerous individual bags of marijuana, a digital scale, prescription pills and over $1,000.00 in suspected drug proceeds” on him at the time of the arrest, according to a police statement.
Brown is currently being held at the New Castle County Detention Center, charged with multiple felonies, including resisting arrest, ‘manufactures, delivers, or possesses with intent to manufacture, deliver a controlled substance’, as well as with misdemeanors, including offensive touching of a law enforcement officer. A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for Brown’s bail.
Family attorney Chris Johnson called for an investigation into the potential use of “excessive force” by the arresting officers.
“Our officers are held to the highest standards of police conduct and the fact that an arrest was made does not negate the need for a complete and comprehensive review of this incident which is currently underway,” Colonel Vaughn M. Bond, Jr. said in a statement.
Recreational use of marijuana in Delaware is illegal though possession of small amounts (one ounce or less) has been decriminalized since December 2015. It is still illegal for people under the age of 21 to possess it. Medical marijuana is also permitted.
“It’s horrible. I’m so scared,” Roger Darnell Brown’s mother Mary Fleming said. “My heart is broken, I just want to talk to my kid… It’s ridiculous, and I’m so upset.”