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A TPD officer is on leave after bystander video shows a man being lifted and forced to the ground

Screenshot of a police officer lifting a man in the air before forcing him to the ground
A Tallahassee Police officer lifts a man into the air before forcing him to the ground

A Tallahassee police officer is on leave after a bystander video shows the officer picking up a man and appearing to slam him on the ground. The department has released body camera footage of the incident and announced it's now investigating.

The video, taken by bystanders and posted to Instagram, shows two TPD officers placing handcuffs on a young white man who is standing still. The only audio is that of the people who took the video. About three seconds in, one of the officers picks up 27-year-old Dalton McKnight, turns him upside down, and appears to slam him on the sidewalk before again placing handcuffs on him.

In a statement, TPD said McKnight was involved in a minor crash and left the scene. The officers were able to locate him using witness statements and video and later found him near the All Saints Cafe on St. Francis Street.

The agency released body camera footage with audio showing the arresting officer repeatedly asking McKnight to put his hands behind his back and put down a cigarette. McKnight repeatedly says he was not in an accident and appears to pull away from the officer before he is lifted up and put on the ground. Both videos become shaky in the seconds leading up to McKnight being lifted and slammed to the ground.

“You need to stop, turn over. Turn over," the officer says to a dazed McKnight who is now on the ground.

"That was so unnecessary," McKnight said, "The f***, dude?"

“I don’t like it when you pull away like that because I don’t know what you’re doing. I gave you plenty of opportunities…."

“But you never gave me an explanation of why, like, WHY am I under arrest?" McKnight asks as he's being led away in handcuffs. "I want an explanation."

"Where’s your truck? Where’s your truck at?" the officer asks.

Following the altercation, the officer asks McKnight if anything is hurt and he says no, but appears shocked.

McKnight was charged with two misdemeanors: leaving the scene of an accident and resisting an officer without violence. He has been released on a $250 bail.

The videos are again raising the issue of the agency's use of force in arrests, and some residents see a disparity in treatment of white and Black suspects, noting the white suspect was allowed out on a $250 bail, while Black suspects accused of the same or lesser crimes often sit in jail longer or have worse outcomes for many of the same violations.

See TPD body camera videos below:

Updated: March 29, 2022 at 7:24 AM EDT
updated to include the name of the man arrested.
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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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