Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Hot Springs: Skateboard Video Controversy Continues

Skateboard Video Controversy Continues
Source: Fox 16 News

Click here for video

New video released exclusively to FOX16 shows a new angle of the scuffle between a Hot Springs Police officer and some skate boarders. The video came from the camera of a business along Central Avenue. It actually shows what happened before the scuffle took place.
The eyes of the world have focused on Hot Springs for the past week. The reason, a highly watched video posted on YouTube. It shows Officer Joseph Williams in a scuffle with a group caught skate boarding in a prohibited area along Central Avenue.

After seeing the video lots of people posted comments saying the police officer used excessive force and poor judgement.

"Pick up your skateboards and walk next time I guess and if you really have a problem go to city council and fight it there, but that cop needs to be fired," says one poster.

However, some sided with the officer. "Even at the start of the video the cop says, 'I told you to stop and you didn't' what do you expect when you run away from the police?" adds another poster.

That's what many business owners in the area believe. And they say this video released exclusively to FOX16 News proves their point.

Employees standing out front of the wax museum say the YouTube video doesn't tell the entire story. They were able to catch some of what happened on their own surveillance video and they say it clearly shows the skate boarders disobeying the police officer.

"I seen the cops and about 10 skate boarders come flying by and when they seen the cop they hollered run run and they took off running and the cop was steadily chasing them and he got one down over there," says Tracy Hicks.

Alan Hickman was also on the street that day, he too has a different account of what happened. He says while the YouTube video shows the officer grabbing the kids, what you don't know is he was reacting to them attacking him out of view of the camera. "The kids were way in the wrong, the kids were way out of line, the cop was basically protecting himself," says alan Hickman.

The investigation into Officer Williams' actions is still underway. Police haven't said when it will wrap up.

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