Four Texas police department officers were captured on video punching and Tasering a black suspect in handcuffs in downtown Austin, Texas.
The video shows one police officer wearing a “naughty” black Santa hat while others were wearing black face masks.
The officers led handcuffed suspect, Jason Donald, outside a convenient store. They then took Donald in the corner of the building where they assaulted him. The man was forced to the ground even as he pleaded with the cops. One of the officers repeatedly punched Donald.
Another masked officer then fired a Taser at him.
“They [sic] punching me,” Donald can be heard shouting in the video, while one of the officers said, “Put your hands behind your back!”
Despite the video showing evidence of excessive force against suspects, the department defended the officers.
“The suspect managed to slip one hand out of the handcuffs and had his hands in front of him. The officers and suspect end up going to the ground, while the officers attempt to overcome his resistance and place him back in handcuffs,” Austin police said in a statement.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley later said the video didn’t capture the entire incident.
“The vital piece that's missing from what we saw on the video that's in social media fills in that gap of why we ended up with a resistance and why we ended up struggling with this suspect,” he said.
As the video drew widespread criticism, the police department said going forward officers are not allowed to cover their faces or wear face masks, except in extreme cases.
It remains unknown if the officers were held responsible for the act.
“Sad. His hands were already behind his back so how did the cuffs come off and all of a sudden it’s put your hands behind your back,” said a commenter.
Another one said, “It makes me so angry to see this. Everyday there's a new video or court case, it's just devastating...why hasn't it stopped? It's so wrong...HOW CAN YOU HURT ANOTHER HUMAN BEING FOR NO REASON??”
Spotlight/Banner: Austin Police Department