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Video vindicates officer after social media post accuses him of assaulting panhandler

A Facebook post falsely claimed that an officer assaulted a panhandler and took away his coat in the cold


By PoliceOne Staff

TAYLOR, Mich. — Video footage cleared an officer of any wrongdoing after a Facebook post accused the LEO of assaulting a panhandler.

The News Herald reports that the officer’s supervisors reviewed dash cam footage of his encounter with the panhandler and found that he did nothing wrong. On Jan. 10, a Facebook post accused the unidentified officer of assaulting a man panhandling near a highway.

The post alleged that the officer took the man’s coffee cup and threw it into the roadway before shoving the man against a  vehicle and removing his coat in the cold weather. The post, which has now been deleted, included a photograph of the officer talking to the man.

But dash cam video shows the entire exchange between the officer and the panhandler. The officer was questioning the man and later found out that he had an outstanding warrant from another state.

The video shows the officer telling the man put his hands on the hood of his patrol car so his hands would be in clear view. The footage proved that the officer followed department protocol and never touched the man or his possessions.

“We take complaints seriously and complete detailed investigations about them, as we did in this incident,” Police Chief John Blair said. “Upon speaking with our officer and reviewing his in-car camera, we find these allegations to be completely false and unfounded. The video clearly shows the entire encounter and at no time does the officer take a coffee from the individual, throw him against our police car, dump out his backpack, rip off his coat, or dump his belongs on the ground.”

The post was removed several hours after it was posted.

Mayor Rick Sollars urged residents to not rush to judgement on unverified claims  posted on social media. He said that trust needs to run in both directions from police and the community.

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