Petersburg Police respond to viral beating video

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - The Petersburg Police Department now has some community support after video of a teen's arrest went viral.

The video of Devin Thomas' arrest sparked protests for weeks. Thomas says he was recording a traffic stop with his cell phone when an officer assaulted him. Now Petersburg Police Chief John Dixon III is speaking for the first time.

The Petersburg NAACP and Petersburg Police stood side by side today in hopes of reestablishing trust in Petersburg police officers.

There's cell phone video and the photo showing a bloodied Devin Thomas being led away in handcuffs. Thomas claims the officer assaulted him for filming a traffic stop.

Chief Dixon promises answers, but not yet. "Understand we have not concluded this investigation, partly because they have not decided to sit down and talk with us about their investigation, so we can't bring it to a conclusion," he said.

The Petersburg NAACP stood with officers on Friday and said talks with the department have been ongoing. "We need to assure the community that's my concern that it will not happen again," said Alzena Mayfield, president of the Petersburg NAACP. And she has a message to outside groups that have led these protests. "We can deal with anything that goes on in Petersburg," she said.

This isn't the only video showing officers trying to stop a teen from recording an arrest. Another family shared a video exclusively with NBC12. It was taken while a 17-year-old was standing on his front porch. The confrontation led to a scuffle, but neither the NAACP or the police chief said they couldn't comment on this incident just yet.

"We're talking about the actions of our police officers and we're coming up with ways to change things," said Mayfield.

Dixon says his officers are his officers constantly updated in their training. "They get classroom training, they get courtroom training on it and we have a chief of staff that puts out any new legislation with things that come down the pike," he said.

"I want the community to understand clearly that we are here for them, we're here to represent them," he said.

Thomas' next court date is scheduled for October. He is facing charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

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