- The Washington Times - Monday, May 23, 2011

Metro Transit Police Chief Michael Taborn launched a formal investigation on Monday into the actions of two officers who appear in a video posted to the Internet to have tackled a wheelchair-bound man outside a D.C. rail station Thursday, sending the man to the hospital with a head wound after he resisted arrest.

Metro spokeswoman Angela Gates said Chief Taborn “saw the video and had some concerns.”

“We want to make sure our customers are treated appropriately,” Ms. Gates said. “Metro will look into this to make sure our officers did follow proper procedure.”

The two unnamed officers will remain on the job with pay.


Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said the officers were on a routine patrol near the U Street/African-Amer Civil War Memorial/Cardozo station around 3 p.m. when they saw the man drinking in his motorized red scooter.

The officers asked the man to leave but he refused, Mr. Taubenkibel said, so the officers attempted to issue him a citation.

A cell phone video taken by a bystander begins at the point where the officers approached the man, quickly cuffing him before he rises from his wheelchair with the officers gripping his arms, and a struggle ensues that leaves the man face down on the pavement in a growing pool of blood.

“The patron resisted arrest, which resulted in him falling out of his wheelchair,” Mr. Taubenkibel said. But comments made on YouTube, the online site where the video was posted, show a growing number of viewers say the force used by the officers was excessive.

In the video the man appears to be pulled to a standing position by the officers. He briefly gets his footing and takes two assisted steps forward with the officers before the officer on his left side appears to put a foot in front of his shin, causing the man to fall to the pavement along with both uniformed men as a shout of “going down” is heard.

A small crowd of people began to gather around the felled man, calling out in support of him. One man can be heard yelling “they split him wide open.”

The man was arrested for assault on a police officers and drinking in public.

Transit police say they are following up on the report.