Woman reacts to video showing Opelika officer arresting juvenile

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A video showing an Opelika Police officer arresting a 14-year-old boy last Saturday has gone viral on Facebook with over 75-hundred views.

The woman who shot the video is spoke to News 3.

Barbara Griffin was the woman who recorded part of the incident. She says she saw the officer jump the curb onto the grass and head toward two kids on bikes.

“The way he jumped the curb, I knew something was going on. So i said, let me go see what’s going on,” Griffin says.

She says she noticed things starting to get out of hand so she starting recording. “And that’s where it picks up when he was harassing the child. I kept telling him to relax and don’t resist.” But Griffin says it didn’t get any better.

“I’m thinking what does a 14-year-old do to deserve this. No matter how bad his past may have been, he didn’t deserve to be treated that way. He wasn’t asked to spread his legs, his legs were just kicked apart like he was an animal,” she says.

The Opelika Police Department issued a release, stating the entire incident that was caught on the police officer’s body-cam — was not shown to the public.

“Alabama State Law prohibits the Opelika Police Department from releasing the video or any details involving the arrest since it is a juvenile,” says Opelika Police Chief John McEachern. He also says that the officer acted according to Opelika police department policy, Alabama state, and current police best practices, and the department takes any use of force seriously.

“I have two sons and a grandson, and I would never want my children to be treated this way. That’s why I’m speaking on this child’s behalf. What matters is that he was treated unfairly,” Griffin says.

Chief McEachern says the body cam video has been thoroughly vetted at all levels. Griffin says she wants the Opelika Police Department to be better trained on how to handle any person.

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