A video of a St. Petersburg police officer who made a traffic stop last December has gone viral, and it may trigger an internal investigation.
Police Chief Tony Holloway has seen the video, and is reaching out to Curtis Shannon, 26, formerly of St. Petersburg, to see if he plans to file a complaint.
"I know (Shannon's) made some online allegations of excessive force, and that he went to a hospital after being released from jail," said Mike Puetz, St. Petersburg police spokesman. "Those are things we want to discuss with him."
Shannon posted the video last week. It begins with him saying into his camera that he'd been pulled over a half block from his apartment complex. Because he was so close, he says, he decided to park near his home. When he asked the officer the reason for the traffic stop, Shannon says the officer's answer was "because he wanted to."
The officer then appears at the window. It's cracked just slightly.
"Open the door," the officer says, and then seems to tug on the handle.
"Absolutely not," Shannon says.
"Okay, you got keys to this car 'cause we can bust this window," the officer says.
The two argue for a bit, and Shannon mentions he was, or is, a corporal in the Marines.
"I've already heard enough about SPPD around here," Shannon says. "I am not going to step out of this car so you can beat the hell out of me."
The video ends with Shannon agreeing to step out of the car. He takes his camera with him, and the officer seems to grab him.
"Sir, sir, sir, please stop. Sir, please stop," Shannon repeats.
In a post online, Shannon says the officer then threw him to the ground and forced an elbow to the back of his head.
The police report differs.
The officer said he saw Shannon speeding and weaving in between cars near Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street and 22nd Avenue S. Shannon drove to the Lakeview Apartments Complex at 976 22nd and stopped the car in a parking space, the report reads. When the officer left his cruiser, Shannon revved the engine, the officer said.
They argue. And Shannon ultimately acquiesces.
" ... when Shannon unlocked and opened the door, I advised him that he was under arrest, and he attempted to closed the door on me," the report reads, "and he began reaching for a unknown object in the passenger seat."
The unknown object is apparently the camera Shannon recorded the entire interaction with.
Another moment that could be scrutinized if an investigation happens, was that in their conversation the officer referred to Shannon as "boy."
The officer, like Shannon, is black. But Puetz said it could still be reason to look into the matter.
"We understand that is a term that under certain circumstances is inappropriate," Puetz said. "A lot of it has to do with the context. But I would agree that is something they will probably look at."
Shannon was arrested that December and charged with resisting an officer without violence. He was not immediately available for comment.