RAINBOW CITY, Ala. (WIAT) — The difference between death threats toward officers and possible protest versus heartfelt apologies for assuming that a salacious post was indeed true, a thin line shown through body cam footage released Friday.
A post to Facebook alleged that Rainbow City Police officers beat, tased and pushed a suspect off of a bridge, hospitalizing him with severe injuries.
However, the evolving relationship with technology held everyone accountable.
“We began to look deeper into what we thought to not be a big deal and see what actually happened and I never had any reservations that any of the allegations were true,” said Rainbow City Police Chief Jonathan Horton.
The department fired back by releasing the body cam footage showing what really happened, a suspect eluding police after giving false information due to having outstanding warrants, eventually jumping off of the bridge.
After a social media firestorm with the false allegations and death threats directed toward officers, critics were forced to take a step back.
“We had several people that had sent back private messages apologizing and saying hey I’ve learned a lesson, I need to check out all the facts before I jump on the bandwagon and prejudge you guys,” Chief Horton said.
However, given the national climate when it comes to police brutality, what if this video proved the claims of police brutality to be true?
“We would have shown the same footage,” said Chief Horton.
“Those people are humans just like the suspect in this situation was, therefore they are as prosecutable as anyone else, we would be embarrassed sure, it would be a black eye for the city, but it would be a blacker eye not to take action,” he continued.
“Therefore I think that the price you get these body cams for in this day and time is a small price to pay for the backlash that could come by not making it available to your officers.”
Chief Horton said he’s thankful for the body cams because it showed transparency and that his officers were out to do the right thing.
That suspect remains hospitalized.