Huntsville Police Department's Internal Affairs division is looking into claims of excessive force against officers who arrested a man in the parking lot of First Baptist Church after video of the incident surfaced online.
The YouTube video (http://bit.ly/1cd9WLt) shows what looks to be several people detained by Huntsville Police in front of the church on Governors Drive.
Church administration confirmed the group of men were outside the church before the Sunday 10:30 a.m. service. Church administration said they invited at least one of the men to come inside for the service, but he declined.
Church administration said halfway through the service the group entered the church, walked to the front row seats and sat down. They said the group then pulled out their cell phones, started recording the service, and were talking and disrupting the service.
Church administration said the actions by the group made several church goers very uncomfortable, but the group was not kicked out. After the service, the church said Huntsville Police questioned the men and they believe that's when the YouTube videos were captured. The church said they have Huntsville Police at all of their services for issues like traffic control.
The church released a statement, saying they offer prayers for the young men involved and their families. (http://bit.ly/HpdrFa)
Huntsville Police responded to the incident in a statement Monday afternoon. They said an off-duty police officer arrested 23-year-old Joshua Chukwuedozie Ude on charges of resisting arrest and criminal trespassing.
According to police, officers approached Ude and the two men who were with him to ask about their behavior during the church service. During the conversation, police say Ude became uncooperative, refused to leave, and was subsequently arrested. Ude's companions, who were also detained by officers, captured the arrest on video and uploaded it to YouTube within 30 minutes.
The video shows Ude's arrest, but it does not show the events leading up to it.
"Initial review of the posted videotapes indicate the officers used appropriate techniques under the circumstances," said Huntsville Police Chief Lewis Morris. "However, I have instructed our Internal Affairs division to investigate any alleged use of excessive force during the arrest of Mr. Ude."
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