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Citizens Police Review Board Views Kirkland Arrest, Judge Use Of Force

Four people sit at a long white table watching footage on a projector screen
Blaise Gainey
Tallahassee Police Department's Citizen Police Review Board watches body camera footage from the arrest of Jacquez Kirkland.

The Citizens Police Review Board met last week to watch body camera and surveillance footage from the DUI arrest of Jacquez Kirkland. During the arrest, Tallahassee police say a baton was used to prevent Kirkland from resisting. The board is reviewing whether the use of force was necessary.

Before the citizens’ board reviewed the footage from the May 16 arrest, they received a brief overview of TPD’s use of force policy. TPD Major Samuel Gereg explained why the officers’ actions were justified according to the written policy. One part of the policy says that in order to use a baton, there must be active resisting -- not passive. Gereg says Kirkland used active resistance.

“The fact that he has pulled his arm around him indicates you have resistance his arms are not behind him back getting handcuffed, he’s pulling them around in front of him," Gereg said.

But even with that explanation, after viewing the video, Dr. Rosezetta Bobo believed there was no need for batons.

“Once they put him down he was already down it was three people, four people on him, he’s not getting up. Unless he’s superman I don’t see him getting the strength to push those four people up off of him so I never saw the need for the baton," Bobo said.

Mutaqee Akbar, President of the Tallahassee Branch of the NAACP, says even if the policy allows the use of a baton, there should be further discussion about whether that policy is proper.

“There also needs to be the question of is this the type of policing that we want in the city of Tallahassee," Akbar said. "Is it okay for anybody to look at an 8-second video or two-minute video and see someone laying on their stomach, getting hit by a baton with at least one hand behind their back?"

After hours of discussion and watching the body camera footage, the board adjourned the meeting. They will meet again on July 1 to resume discussions.

Blaise Gainey is a State Government Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.