An incident involving a white Mississippi Highway Patrol officer and three Black men is under investigation after a viral video showed the officer putting a handcuffed man into a chokehold and wrestling him into a ditch.
The video shows one of Lewis’ brothers, Eugene Lewis, standing in the street in handcuffs as Packer Lewis and another brother, Darius Lewis, yell that they are recording the incident. Suddenly, the officer grabs Eugene Lewis by the neck and pulls him across the street, tackling him to the ground. At one point, the officer appears to use his knee to pin him down.
“That’s how George Floyd died,” Packer Lewis yelled while recording a livestream on Facebook, referring to the 2020 murder of Floyd, a Black man who was pinned under a Minneapolis police officer’s knee for more than nine minutes.
Packer Lewis said the Mississippi officer became aggressive after he told the Lewis brothers to leave the scene.
“He said y’all need to leave. It’s not y’all business. We said it’s our business because it’s our brother,” Lewis told The Associated Press on Monday.
After detaining Eugene Lewis in a police car, the officer then walked toward the other two brothers and pointed a weapon at one of them. After another officer arrived, Packer and Darius Lewis were then arrested.
McComb Mayor Quordiniah Lockley urged patience as an investigation unfolds.
“I know that many of you like myself, have viewed the video of the Mississippi Highway Patrol Officer and Mr. Eugene Lewis. I am alarmed as well as disturbed over it,” Lockley said. “I ask that you allow the investigation to be completed but at the same time let your voice be heard.”
The incident occurred less than a month after the firing of the police chief in Lexington, 130 miles (210 kilometers) north of McComb. The Mississippi Center For Investigative Reporting said the Lexington police chief was caught on tape using racial slurs and talking about how many people he killed in the line of duty.
Howard Henderson, the director of the Center for Justice Research at Texas Southern University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said Lewis’ video displayed “bad policing 101.”
“He seems to obviously have lost control of himself, and he almost looked like he was afraid of the gentleman recording. And because of that, he overreacted in the moment,” Henderson said.
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