Just days after a video on social media circulating showing an EPD officer hitting a student on the ground, there’s new fallout from the community and calls on whether the police used excessive force.
“We have a very fractured relationship with the community and the Evansville Police Department, one that we have been trying to rebuild and trying to work on,” said Evansville Black Chamber of Commerce President William Payne.
A disturbing video showing three officers on top of teenager and one of them punching the student in the back over and over.
Evansville resident Denise Wolf says her family has a long history with EPD, and the county’s judicial system.
“I just hope that you never have to deal with it, I don’t wish what I am going through on anyone,” she said.
She says she’s concerned by the way the teenager was treated.
“If it was my child, I would be very angry, it makes me angry to even see it for that many officers to be on one child, I don’t see a need for it,” she said.
Some residents are asking whether police used excessive force.
“Whether he was guilty or not is not the issue to me,” she said. “It’s more about how many officers were even on the child, hitting him in the back, I don’t care how many videos I have seen, I just don’t see that it was necessary.”
This comes just days after EPD responded to SE 8th and Gum streets –following a 911 call from an EVSC official reporting a fight on the bus.
Police say the teen left the bus through the emergency exit, walked alongside the bus, and refused to get back on.
Community leaders say the video circulating on social media was excessive in nature.
“I have a very good working relationship with Evansville Police Department so after looking at the body cam footage i can understand how they feel it was justifiable,” Payne said.
Payne says he can’t believe why so many officers were needed on scene.
“Of course I respect the fact that the Evansville Police Department said that it was justifiable, but I believe in the nature itself for a 14-year-old boy with three officers, I believe they could have done better a little bit better,” he said.
Evansville Police released a statement late Friday saying the officers actions were justifiable after lawfully detaining the students as they investigated the fight.
Several city council members declined to comment. Council president Jim Brinkmeyer forwarding comment to Mayor Winnecke.
44News reached out to the mayor’s office for additional comment but we have not yet heard back.
A community conversation in regards to this recent incident is still in the works and expected to take place in the coming weeks.