Video of Lenexa PD arrest goes viral, sparks concerns

LENEXA, Kan. - A video that shows two Lenexa police officers making an arrest has gone viral and sparked concerns on social media.

John Sherman said he was at the Winstead's restaurant, located near 95th Street and Quivira when he watched a Lenexa police officer pull over two black men Thursday.

He said he began recording when he felt like something wasn't right. The video only shows two officers holding the man on the ground as he struggles to fight free.

"When they walked him around to the back of the car, I didn't really see him do anything that warranted being thrown to the ground," Sherman said.

Sherman posted the video to his Facebook page. Come Friday morning, it had been shared hundreds of times.

41 Action News spoke with Major Dawn Layman with the Lenexa PD, she said there's one problem with Sherman's video.

"It's only a 30 second snapshot of what actually occurred," Layman said.

However, the police department has the entire incident on camera, thanks to both the body cameras the two officers were wearing and the dash cam video pulled from the police cruiser.

Layman said the officer pulled over John Harrison, 30, because he wasn't wearing his seatbelt.  The video shows the officer, ask Harrison for his driver's license but he didn't have it on him.

While watching the video, Layman points out that the officer walks back to his cruiser and calls for backup. The reason he gives for doing so, is because he said he smelled marijuana coming from the car.

Layman said the officer learned after running Harrison's plates that he had several warrants out for his arrest.

Once backup arrives, the initial and backup officers walk back to Harrison's car. They ask him to get out and walk him to the back of the car.

The video shows that as they're placing him in handcuffs, Harrison raises his fist and turns to throw a punch at the officers.

The struggle begins and carries over into the lawn across from Winstead's. Harrison can be seen kicking and fighting to get up.

The dash cam video shows Sherman standing by recording with his I-Pad. Sherman said shortly after that, he was told by other responding officers to stop recording.

"Being told that I was not allowed to videotape or I was going to jail just didn't seem right," Sherman said.

Sherman admits he didn't get that part of the ordeal on camera.

Layman said it’s because it never happened. She said Sherman was only asked to move back for reasons she wants the public to understand.

"They need to realize, we don't know what you're doing there, or if you have a weapon," Layman said.

The department has found no fault in the officers' arrest.

Prosecutors charged Harrison with two counts of battery against a law enforcement officer, in addition to several other charges.

Layman said the department will use the video as a training tool. She also said she hopes the video serves as a reminder to the public to gather all information, not just pieces, before making any judgments.

"Clearly, the video shows here that our officers were very professional," Layman said. "They did what they needed to do to get this individual into custody."

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Jessica McMaster can be reached at jessica.mcmaster@kshb.com

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