Allegations of police brutality in the U.S. are rampant. Between April 2009 and June 2010 nearly 6,000 cases were filed.
An Evansville, Ind., police officer is getting plenty of support from his department after taking down an unarmed man with an “arm bar” technique, forcefully arresting him, and allegedly handcuffing him to a police bed while taunting him.
Allegations of police brutality in the U.S. are rampant. Between April 2009 and June 2010 — the most recent set of statistics — nearly 6,000 cases of police brutality were filed, roughly 380 of which involved fatalities, according to Cop Block, a law enforcement watchdog news site.
The incident in Evansville occurred around 12:15 a.m. on June 16 when police officer Todd Mattingly responded to a noise complaint relating to a community concert at Haynie’s Corner, an arts district in the city. Mattingly confronted Robert Evidon, the event coordinator, telling him the music was too loud and that the event’s permit had expired.
From there, the story has two sides.
A response from the Evansville Police Department on its Facebook wall indicates Mattingly told Evidon the band just needed to turn the volume down, as the department had received a complaint from a neighbor and the permit for the event had expired at midnight. Evidon then asked Mattingly if the band could perform their final song, to which Mattingly agreed, according to the police department account.
Upon returning to his squad car, Mattingly received word from dispatch of a second complaint. He then approached Evidon and asked him to turn down the volume, citing the ongoing complaints. The police department then claims that Evidon, who was intoxicated, became “belligerent and verbally abusive” and refused to turn the volume down. From there, Mattingly arrested Evidon for public intoxication. The police department says Evidon physically resisted arrest, prompting Mattingly to use the arm bar to force Evidon to the ground.
“It’s an effective way to get someone to the ground that does not include any type of impact weapon or empty hand strikes,” Evansville Police Department Sgt. Jason Cullum told WTVW Eyewitness News. “You’re basically just controlling their movement and guiding them to the ground.”
Yet for Evidon and those who were around to watch the debacle go down, it wasn’t a case of an officer “guiding” a man to the ground.
According to a post on Evidon’s Facebook wall, Mattingly approached Evidon and told him to “pull the plug” on the band or he would write a ticket to everyone at the event. From there, Evidon claims Mattingly instigated the fight, throwing the first punch.
“I asked him to chill out for a minute while I take care of powering down all the amps properly, then Officer Mattingly proceeded to punch me in the face and threw me on the ground and continued to punch me in the face and legs and back,” Evidon wrote. “I never resisted and just kept saying to the officer, ‘I am not resisting’ the whole time he was yelling at me to stop resisting. I was just limp and trying to follow directions as the officer continued to beat my head on the pavement and punch me in the back of the head at least 30 times.”
Karen Tannenbaum, who witnessed the arrest, told WTVW Eyewitness News that Mattingly went too far.
“An officer who is more experienced would have it handled it much better,” she said, adding, “There’s no reason to throw somebody down that doesn’t have a weapon.”
Evidon was taken to the hospital following the arrest, during which time he claims Mattingly handcuffed him to the bed and taunted him for two hours. He claims Mattingly’s brother, who is not a police officer, was along for the journey, taking photos as he was handcuffed to the hospital bed.
The Evansville Police Department conducted an internal affairs investigation following Evidon’s claims of police brutality. It found that Mattingly’s actions were justified.