Law enforcement instructor Leon Spears broke down police body camera footage of a physical altercation erupting after a group of customers allegedly wanted a refund.
An officer entered a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) to confront three customers who reportedly refused to leave the restaurant. After two customers began arguing with the officer, he grabbed one of them by the shirt and demanded they leave and “get down,” the video shows. Two additional law enforcement officials appeared to run from behind the officer and tackle the two men.
Spears criticized the officer for escalating the situation by using physical force to get the customers to leave.
“The officer had no reason to escalate the gentleman from leaving the store. [The officer] wanted him to leave the store, but then it escalated to use of force,” he said. “This always goes back to use of force. [The] first stage of use of force is presence, so obviously [the officer] has a uniform, he’s a sworn officer. So, everyone knows in the environment that he is the authority. The second stage of use of force is verbal commands. He gave them commands, [and the commands] were lawful, the lawful command of a police officer. So you should always abide by the lawful command of a police officer.”
“Third step: personal weapons. Hands only. Why the officer would have put his hands on him to that level, I have no clue. And then, again, the fourth step of soft weapons … I have no idea why the officer would take it to that level.”
Spears said the fifth step of use of force is the taser and the baton, and the sixth step is the use of deadly weapons. He said he didn’t see any firearms or deadly weapons on the bodycam footage that would have justified tackling the man in the orange shirt. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Firearms Trainer Leon Spears Breaks Down The Best Viral Cop Videos)
An officer detained the man in orange by holding one of his arms and his shirt, according to the bodycam footage. The officers then walked the man and one other customer outside the restaurant and appeared to handcuff and arrest them.
A KFC manager told the officer a group of customers were originally in the restaurant demanding a refund, but they did not have their receipts. He said they refused to leave after he told them they could not get their money back, the video shows. That group of customers remained in the store while the officers detained the other two men who were allegedly disrupting the manager’s conversation with the group demanding a refund.
Spears said law enforcement should have addressed the group allegedly causing the problem first.
“The other customers that are actually currently in the store, they actually were the beginning of the problem, and so the officers have to address the manager’s concerns, and then they should have addressed the first people first,” Spears said. “But the people that actually caused the problem … are still in the store and not being addressed by law enforcement. The two gentlemen that actually got handcuffed and arrested, they were just apart of the scene, they should have left [and] abided by the lawful command of a police officer.”