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Pennsylvania man arrested for drug possession alleges brutality

A police commander recently made a public statement, saying that there are times when arresting officers must use physical force against a person in order to bring that person into custody. He added that such force may not always appear appropriate to the eyes of the public. A Pennsylvania halfway house inmate who was being arrested for alleged drug possession has claimed that authorities used brutal and excessive force against him.

In Aug. 2014, police were called to a halfway house in Pittsburgh. They claim that a man had resisted efforts by the staff who were attempting to search him for drugs. A surveillance video of what took place next shows officers repeatedly beating the man with batons over a dozen times. The man's attorney described the incident as a disgusting assault against his client. The halfway resident was ordered to stand trial for drug charges and resisting arrest.

A police commander and an assistant chief have indicated that they reviewed the video and have asserted that no undue physical force was used against the defendant. A criminal complaint against the man suggests that he had lunged with fists at the officers responding to the scene. His defense attorney claims that his client made fists in order to cover and protect himself from the officers' aggression.

The case remains under investigation by the Citizens Police Review Board. Though physical force is sometimes a legitimate action on the part of police during an arrest, Pennsylvania law allows anyone believing he or she has been assaulted to seek legal advice in the matter. Further, the man in this case, and others who have been arrested for drug possession, maintain innocence unless proved guilty by evidence presented in court.

Source: lancasteronline.com, "Pittsburgh police reviewing halfway house arrest on video", Jan. 27, 2015

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