UPDATE (9:46 a.m. Oct. 20, 2023): News 5 added the following quote from our interview with Mobile Police Chief Paul Prine: “But the public also needs to understand if the investigation determines that our officer used excessive force, we’re going to meet that challenge head in and we’re going to deal with it.”
MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Mobile Police Chief Paul Prine addressed two videos showing what some experts and city leaders dubbed as excessive force. Prine was out of town when the two videos were posted online.
“Both videos are troubling,” Prine said.
A video released on Oct. 12 showed a uniformed officer hitting a man in handcuffs who police say resisted arrest and assaulted a police officer after a traffic stop. Court documents said that the suspect, Beezer Dubose Jr. grabbed the officer’s groin and caused physical pain.
Both videos began in the middle of a confrontation, which Prine said left out many context clues and perspectives.
“You know, to say that it was excessive, knowing what I know now, I would simply say that it’s understandable, the type of force that was used. The other incident involving the juvenile, it appears to be.”
The second video, released Tuesday, showed an officer body-slamming a 16-year-old girl outside Accel Academy in the Festival Centre. The girl’s mother told us the officer got involved after the girl got into an argument with an administrator.
Before he can officially dub something as excessive force, Prine said he is waiting for the investigations to wrap up.
However, Mobile NAACP President Robert Clopton, who said the videos are ‘deeply disturbing and troubling‘, said those investigations need to be thorough.
“A thorough investigation is going back and looking at his history,” Clopton said. “The Branch is demanding a thorough investigation and justice in this case and all violent acts of this nature, especially when they are perpetuated upon a youth by an adult who’s sworn to protect and serve. This is totally unacceptable.”
WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH POLICE CHIEF PRINE:
A crucial element to the investigation of the officer who appeared to body-slam the 16-year-old girl, Prine said, is missing.
“I’ll go ahead and, full transparency, and simply tell you that the officer did not have his body-worn camera activated, and that’s problematic, certainly,” Prine said
Despite the lack of body camera footage, Clopton said the cell phone video is enough to paint a story.
“Now don’t get me wrong, it’s undeniable what he did. It’s right there, it’s plain, it’s in color,” Clopton said.
Prine said both cases are being investigated separately.
“We’re not going to condemn our officers, but we’re certainly not going to say that the defendant was wrong,” Prine said. “If the investigation, in either case, determines that our officer is proper, we are going to support and back that officer irrespective to public opinion.
“But the public also needs to understand if the investigation determines that our officer used excessive force, we’re going to meet that challenge head in and we’re going to deal with it.”
Prine said the Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating through the Department of Justice.