CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Thousands of people have watched a video of the Chesterfield County Police Chief and President of the Chesterfield NAACP in response to a complaint of excessive force in a traffic stop.
In the body-camera footage, which was shown to NBC12, James Monk is seen being stopped for having illegally-tinted windows in March. The video shows the traffic stop quickly escalate, but police claim it is not their practice to publicly release the video.
The video shows Monk being told to step out of his car because the officers smelled marijuana. At this point in the footage, Monk says he was nervous and acted in response to that; police say he was resisting arrest.
When Monk asked the officers why and what was going on, the traffic stop ended with Monk being pepper sprayed twice and stunned once.
Monk maintains he did nothing wrong and no drugs were found.
Following the incident, Tavorise Marks with the Chesterfield NAACP legal redress committee held a press conference on Monk's behalf, demanding changes in the community.
But, in the video posted Wednesday, Chesterfield Police Chief Col. Jeffrey S. Katz and the President of the Chesterfield NAACP L.J. McCoy - who had not seen the video - made a statement about being unified, and said "recently, some within the NAACP have sought to leverage the relationship we've built over the years," and that people have played fast and loose with facts.
WATCH THE FULL VIDEO HERE:
"We are not an organization to use a family for publicity and we would like to believe that we respond to the complaints, but we can't solve everyone's problems," said McCoy.
McCoy feels the issue did not "rise to the level of a press conference."
"The individual had an infraction, law enforcement made a stop and there was no permanent physical damage, nor was it a fatality," said McCoy.
When asked if he would watch the video, McCoy said he would, but noted that the Chesterfield NAACP handled situations "more extensive" than the situation involving Monk. McCoy says he has extensively read about the situation, as well as watched news coverage about it.
McCoy says he tried to encourage Marks not to do the press conference because of the open-door policy between the police department and NAACP. In 2015, McCoy says their organization began a push for police officers in Chesterfield to wear body worn cameras.
"If I'm being dishonest and misleading the truth and facts, then release the video," said Marks. "There's no need for 'he said, she said.' Release the video, that's all I'm asking."
Marks feels the video was made to directly address his actions. He says members of the NAACP statewide, are "disheartened," by the video made by Col. Katz and the Chesterfield NAACP president.
"It sought out to discredit me, but it's never been about me. It's been about Mr. Monk. It's been about the lack of transparency of the police department," said Marks.
In a May press conference, Marks read a list of demands, in light of the excessive force complaint:
- Employ a policy to allow the release of body cam footage through Freedom of Information Act.
- Requests that immediate disciplinary action be taken on the officers who receiving re-training as a result of the incident
- Asking the Board of Supervisors and Police Department to create a community review board with three citizens, as well as one active duty law enforcement and one retired, to review any complaints within the community that involve excessive force.
Following the traffic stop incident, Chesterfield police completed an internal investigation that identified policy violations. The officers involved had to be retrained on the use of stun guns.
Although the department is not releasing more information on the violations, Col. Katz released an additional statement on the incident:
The statement also included a breakdown of Marks' statement, with Col. Katz' analysis:
Again, the body-camera footage is available for public viewing upon police request.
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