Viral video sparks debate about whether force during arrest was - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Viral video sparks debate about whether force during arrest was justified

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A video of Lafayette police responding to a fight has 150,000 views and hundreds of shares on social media. It has launched a debate about policing versus excessive force.
The tense moments captured over the weekend in Lafayette when police were called to break up a fight.

The man arrested in that video is Jasper Robinson. He's been charged with disturbing the peace, resisting arrests and refusing to leave when asked by police.

How he was arrested is getting attention.

Police and Robinson's family are telling two different stories about what happened during Saturday night's chaos.

Police say they were working to clear the scene on near Simcoe Street when several people, including Robinson, failed to obey their commands to clear the road.

However, Robinson's wife says that wasn't the case. 

"He told Jasper 'get on the side. You're blocking traffic,'" Robinson's wife, Andrea Williams, said.

"Jasper moves around and gets on the sidewalk. The officer turned around and came back with his fist balled. Jasper raised his hands up, and that's all he done, and he got slammed to the ground for nothing." 

Williams says she and her husband had just left a wedding reception nearby when they saw the disturbance. Williams says her husband had nothing to do with the fight.

"He told him right," Williams said. "Go ahead and handle your business over there. We were just watching. He could have killed him. They just threw him in the cop car like he was an animal or something. My children saw that."

The Lafayette Police Department sees it differently.

"He was actually trying to get his hand," Cpl. Karl Ratcliffe of the Lafayette Police Department said. "You can see the subject was resisting and would not comply with the handcuffing at that point.  When he was physically resisting the officer was when he was taken to the ground."

"If we're attempting to put handcuffs on someone and they violently resist, pulling away and swinging which in that situation it may have been the case, we're  trained to put people to the ground so we don't have to inflect a lot of harm on them," Ratcliff said. 

Ratcliff says dozens of people were involved with the fight, and some of those people were trying to hurt the officers at the scene.

"You see a video, and it's just a clip," Ratcliff said. "There's a lot that led up to that. It wasn't just this one deal, and that's what we have to look at is this entire incident."  

Robinson's wife says she and her husband are in the process of getting a lawyer and filing a complaint with the police department. Meanwhile, police say they are looking into the incident. 

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