BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. – Body camera footage obtained by a Blytheville activist shows new parts of an encounter with Blytheville police officers that left a man’s windpipe crushed.
Police say they were called the night of September 29, 2018, when Rashawn Warren, in a drug-fueled delirium, began knocking on people’s doors and attempted to barge into a home.
In October, police released a little more than a minute of body camera footage showing an officer chasing after Warren, briefly making contact with him, and then chasing him some more before the video cuts out.
The footage released Thursday shows the moments after that, when police have Warren face up on the ground.
You can hear officers addressing Warren by his first name, shouting at him to shut up and Tasing him, before flipping him over so they could handcuff him.
Activist Tony Hollis believes it’s at this point that an officer crushes Warren’s windpipe.
“He don’t even weigh 110 pounds and y’all got three men, four men on top of him?” said Warren’s aunt, Otilla Hughes, who saw the video for the first time Thursday along with Warren’s mother.
“It’s very disturbing to see my nephew being treated like an animal, just like a dog on the street,” Hughes said.
Hughes said Warren remains in the hospital partially brain dead, unable to walk or talk. When the family filed a lawsuit against the city in October, lawyers described Warren as being in a vegetative state.
“Rayshawn will never be Rayshawn again,” Hughes said.
In their incident report, police write that Warren was resisting arrest and kicking at officers, injuring one of them. But Hollis sees something different.
“I didn’t see very much resistance, no more than him just being loud,” Hollis said.
An attorney for the Warren family confirmed their lawsuit is still pending in federal court.
WREG obtained an April 3rd letter from the FBI to the Blytheville Police Department in which the FBI acknowledges it is reviewing the case. Neither the FBI nor the Blytheville Police Department responded to a request for comment Thursday.