Encounter between Metro police, wheelchair-bound man caught on video

May 22, 2011

A video posted on the YouTube Web site of an apparent physical encounter between Metro Transit Police and a man in a wheelchair was shown Sunday on Washington television stations, and Metro said it is looking into the matter.

The video begins with the man in the chair, two officers alongside. A few seconds later, all three have pitched forward and are prone. Still later, the officers are standing while the man remains on the ground, with off-camera voices appearing to express dismay.

Metro issued a statement Sunday saying that the man, whom police have not identified, had resisted arrest, “which resulted in him falling out of his wheelchair.”

In the statement, Metro said transit police on routine patrol at the U Street Metrorail station in Northwest Washington on Thursday spotted the man in a wheelchair “drinking an alcoholic beverage.”

When asked to leave, the man refused, Metro said. The officers tried to issue a citation, but he “refused to comply.” The officers then told him that he would be placed under arrest, and he resisted, the statement said.

Screengrab from a YouTube video. (YouTube video)

It said he was arrested in connection with an assault on an officer and drinking in public. He was taken to a hospital with a minor injury, the statement said.

It said transit police “are following up on this report.”

It was not clear who posted the video, which lasts for about two minutes. Voices are heard in the background, one asking “What is going on?” and another expressing concern about the man’s apparent injury. Another exclaims, “That man’s in a wheelchair!”

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