Clip shows police officer grabbing Black driver by neck during violent arrest
Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 7/31/2019, 10:57 a.m.
Yet another incident of a police officer mistreating a person of color during a simple traffic stop has gone viral. A Black motorist was violently thrown to the ground and arrested by two Mississippi highway patrolmen after being pulled over, allegedly for speeding, a video taken by his fiancée and posted on Facebook appears to show. According to multiple news sources, including the Huffington Post and NBC News, in the roughly 3-minute video, Robert Andre Morton, 34, can be seen pressed against the back of a vehicle as a Mississippi Highway Patrol trooper, who is White, tries to arrest him while he asks why. “Detained for what?” Morton asks the trooper as Porsha Shields records the interaction on her cellphone. “Why am I being arrested?” The trooper tells Morton that he was initially being detained for driving 101 mph in a 65 mph zone but now faces an additional charge of resisting arrest for refusing to put his hands behind his back. “How, when you didn’t tell me that? You didn’t tell me that,” Morton says as he removes himself from the officer’s grip. The patrolman immediately draws his weapon on Morton and orders him to get on the ground. Shields can be heard screaming to her fiancé, “Please. Don’t do that. Just wait until somebody comes.” Moments later, a second officer pulls up in a patrol car. “Get your fucking hands behind your back,” the second officer, who is also White, says as he lunges toward Morton and puts his hands around the motorist’s neck. The two officers then throw Morton to the ground. “Oh my goodness!” Shields can be heard shouting. “You ain’t gotta do all that! ... Y’all supposed to be out here protecting us!” The video of the July 12 arrest has been posted on several Facebook accounts, including on Shields’ friend Laquisha Cummings’ account, where it had been viewed more than 3 million time as of Tuesday. Saqib Javed, a Detroit-based activist with more than 250,000 Twitter followers, tweeted the video on Tuesday, garnering more national interest in the incident. Morton was charged with speeding more than 20 miles per hour over the speed limit, failure to wear seat belts, failure to properly seat belt a child, failure to give a driver’s license on command, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and malicious mischief, reports NBC News, citing Clay County jail records.
He was released after posting $1,754 bail. Shields, who is four months pregnant, told HuffPost that she was frightened for Morton during the interaction. She said her 4-year-old son was in the car at the time. “It was frustrating because I wanted to be in the car with him, but then I also wanted to make sure Robert was OK,” Shields said. She confirmed she was also arrested during the incident but declined to comment further before securing legal representation. Mississippi Highway Patrol did not respond to HuffPost’s multiple requests for comment. Watch the video here: