Dramatic arrest video sparks concern over use of force

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The dramatic arrest of a Memphis teenager caught on camera prompted questions on whether the level of force was justified.

You could hear the punches in the video as Memphis Police Officer Jhukuruin Cole fought to arrest a teenager.

Officers said 18-year-old Deshannon Smith was resisting arrest Sunday along South Parkway East across the street from South Side Park.

Witnesses shared the video with Smith’s family as the teen sat in jail facing several charges, including aggravated assault.

“He kept asking the question — what are you arresting me for? They couldn’t give him an answer,” Emma Wilson, Smith’s grandmother, said.

Wilson was fired up and questioned the officer’s use of force.

“He didn’t have a gun, he didn’t have a weapon,” Wilson said. “So there was no reason to treat him like that.”

WREG reached out to the Memphis Police Department where a spokesperson said the video doesn’t tell the entire story.

Police said some kids flagged them down and alleged Smith was sexually assaulting some girls at the park. The affidavit of complaint claimed Smith told the officer he was going to smack one of the little girls.

Cole tried to arrest him soon after.

Cole reported he was able to get one handcuff on the teen in the back of the cruiser, but Smith attacked him. At that point, the struggle began.

Police said the incident is an ongoing investigation, and “our officer used the minimal amount of force to make the arrest.”

However, Smith’s family did not agree.

Wilson asked, “What happened when you took his hand and put it back there and put that cuff on him? What did you do wrong?”

Police said the officer would have been justified in pulling out a baton or using a chemical agent in the arrest, but the officer only used his hands.

Smith’s family is considering filing a complaint with internal affairs.

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