Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters released the body camera footage from the viral arrest of Le’Keian Woods, arguing the brutal beating was justified. However, Woods’ family is demanding a probe from the DOJ into what they see as another injustice.
According to the arrest and booking report, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office took the 24-year-old into custody on various drug charges Friday. The police report says the JSO’s Gang Unit followed a gray Dodge Durango to a gas station where a man wearing all black with a hood pulled over his head exited the car. The officer later identified the man as Woods and speculated that he was facilitating a drug deal.
The report says the surveilling officer saw Woods get into the backseat of the car, pull out money and start counting it. The car then pulled off but the officer noted the driver wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and called for backup to follow the truck. After cornering the vehicle in a dead end, Detectives Beau P. Daingle, Josue Garriga, T. McCullough and Hunter Sullivan conducted a “high-risk takedown” but Woods fled on foot.
The body camera footage showed what happened leading up to the bystander’s video taken after Woods’ face was seen swollen and bloodied.
“There was force used by detectives, and yes, that force is ugly. But the reality is that all force, all violence is ugly. And just because force is ugly does not mean it is unlawful or contrary to policy,” Waters said in a press conference.
Read a description of the body cam footage from News4Jax:
According to [Chief of Professional Standards Mike Shell], the detective warned Woods that he would be tased if he did not stop running. The officer tases Woods with a stun gun for the first time to which Woods stumbles but continues to run. Then the officer tases him a second time, causing Woods to fall face-first onto the pavement. The video catches Woods visibly bleeding, but it is unclear where he was injured.
Because Woods was holding on to the front of his waistline during the chase the pursuing detective believed that meant he had a gun. When the detective attempted to place handcuffs on Woods, according to police, he continued to resist arrest. That’s when other officers come to assist the detective. The report said it took three detectives and a patrol officer to get Woods into handcuffs.
Woods was struck a total of 17 times suffering punches and “unintentional” knee strikes to the face as well as elbows to the eye and punches to the ribs, the police report said. In the video, you can hear him groaning in pain and panting as if he’s struggling to breathe. After all of those swings, they eventually got Woods’ arms behind his back and into handcuffs. However, the viral moment of Woods being slammed onto the ground wasn’t included in the footage shown at the press conference.
Now, Woods’ family along with attorneys Harry Daniels and Marwan Porter are questioning the officers’ use of force and the level of “transparency” demonstrated by the department.
“If you’re going to preach transparency, practice transparency, full transparency. By them only playing a part of the body cam video, it causes more questions. It raises more questions than what it answers,” said Porter.
The attorneys said since Woods was transferred to jail, his face is still swollen limiting his eyesight and he’s been suffering dizzy spells and pain from a ruptured kidney with nothing but ibuprofen and Vaseline to treat it.