(Memphis) An unidentified off-duty Memphis police officer is caught on camera repeatedly hitting a man in the middle of Oak Court Mall, prompting many to record the physical arrest on their cell phones in shock.
According to a police affidavit, the officer was working for the mall and not for the city.
In the video, Stedmon Fentress, backs away from an off Duty MPD Officer. He’s shown trying to dodge mace as he curses at the policeman.
“Get down when I tell you,” shouted out the officer.
The officer whips out his baton. Fentress tells him he’s leaving
“You ain’t fitting to roll nowhere,” replied the officer.
“The officer took his radio off his hip and threw it on the ground so he could be ready to fight,” said a witness who didn’t want to be identified. The witness recorded the arrest on his cell phone and sent it to News Channel 3.
The video then shows the officer repeatedly hits Fentress while he is on the ground covering his eyes.
“I think he took too harsh of an action too fast,” said the witness.
The scene unfolded Saturday evening at Oak Court Mall.
“Every time he got ready to hit him with the baton he maced him, I guess so he couldn’t fight back. Everybody was stick to their stomach,” said the witness.
There’s no video showing what led up to the encounter. But witnesses and a police arrest record say the officer was breaking up a verbal argument between Fentress and another man. Witnesses say Fentress rode down the escalator but not before he turned around and said something to the officer.
“I don’t know if he had a smart comment or he threatened him I don’t know what happened,” said the witness.
Whatever it was, “the guy had his back to the officer and the officer pushed him twice,” said the officer.
News Channel 3 sent the video to police who say at this time they can’t comment. The police arrest record says Fentress was hostile and refused to obey the officer. He’s now charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
“I didn’t think the guy was a threat,” said the witness.
Police records don’t mention the officer hitting Fentress even though we see it in the video. But it does say the officer maced the 21-year-old out of safety concerns. Witnesses believe the officer’s actions were excessive and not safe.
“There were little kids walking by, he was just spraying the mace so freely,” said the witness.
News Channel 3 looked up Fentress’ record and discovered he has been arrested in the past for aggravated assault, aggravated burglary and resisting arrest. News Channel 3 stopped by his address listed on the arrest report, but we are told he no longer lives there. We are still waiting to hear back from Oak Court Mall about the incident.