ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – The Ithaca Police Department is conducting an internal investigation following an altercation on The Commons that resulted in the arrests of two people. The investigation into the April incident was ordered by Ithaca’s mayor.
Videos from nearby security cameras and police body cams were recently made public by Mayor Svante Myrick. (They can been viewed here.) They show a chaotic scene with police officers using force and Tasers in trying to subdue and handcuff an African American man and woman. A small group of people are seen and heard screaming at the police.
In one video, a woman is heard yell to a police officer, “Please, get off her head, get off her head. You, get off her head.”
Myrick said he released the videos, ten in total, in the name of transparency. Their release was criticized by the Ithaca Police Benevolent Association. It says the videos are deliberately misleading and the officers did nothing wrong in the face of being “viciously attacked.”
Police are being criticized by Black Lives Matter Ithaca for their use of force. The incident was sparked by the alleged groping of a young black woman by a white man. However, instead of taking the white suspect into custody, critics say police arrested a black man and the woman.