A bar fight in Downtown Portsmouth, Ohio Saturday night lead to a confrontation between a Portsmouth police officers and a member of a Life Medical Response ambulance crew that was caught, in part, on video. The portion of the dispute it does captures appears to show the officer with his hand at the EMS worker’s neck with the man’s back pushed up against a police cruiser.
The Portsmouth police chief tells WSAZ-TV the incident is under routine administrative review but that the video only shows part of what happened. Life Medical Response told the TV station that it is working with police and will have more to say after the review. The official for Life Medical Response says the video has been heavily edited.
The only people really talking at this point are those who say they witnessed the incident. WSAZ-TV’s interviews with the witnesses can be viewed here.
The witnesses, including Trevor Conley, say the dispute between police and EMS started when a man injured in the fight came to and was agitated.
“He just woke up from being knocked out, and he’s got guys all around him grabbing a hold of him,” Conley says. “You’re going to freak out.”
They say they watched a police officer use a Taser on the man, and a medic tried to intervene on the man’s behalf.
“The EMT said, ‘You can’t be tasing this guy, he’s bleeding, got head problems,’ ” Josh Journey said. “Then after that he grabbed the EMT, took him across the street, and I saw him have his hand on his throat all the way across the road and had him up against that cruiser.”
“When the EMT was telling him ‘you can’t do that, you can’t do that, he’s got head trauma,’ he grabbed him up here,” Chad Bennett said, motioning around his neck.
Journey says officers tried to take his phone away but were unsuccessful.
“I think they realized that they’d messed up,” Journey said.
I am sure some will be reminded of the video below of the May, 2009 confrontation in Paden, Oklahoma between an EMS crew member and a Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper. Details on that incident can be found here.