Uncovering the whole story

– The video working its way through social media, and also posted on our website at times-herald.com, clearly shows Newnan Police Department officers using excessive force to subdue a man who did nothing wrong.

Those officers should be fired. Lawsuits should be brought against a department that clearly has a macho mentality with little regard for the phrase “to protect and to serve.”

– The video working its way through social media, and also posted on our website at times-herald.com, clearly shows Newnan Police Department officers following correct procedures to subdue a man who refused to cooperate with simple instructions.

Those officers did nothing wrong and should be commended for using only the force necessary to handcuff and restrain an increasingly hostile and belligerent suspect.

So which is it?

Judging by the more than 160 comments on our Facebook page as of Wednesday morning, take your pick. It’s obviously a case of police brutality. It’s obviously a case of police doing their job. Everyone sees the exact same video, yet the conclusions drawn are polar opposites.

For the few of you without Internet access over the last couple of days, the video in question was taken by a bystander outside the Alamo on the courthouse square early Saturday. It shows three NPD officers taking down a suspect, Christopher Bryan. He is tased and struck by officers. Everyone agrees on that, because it’s rather obvious watching the video clip.

With the explosion of smartphones, everyone can now be a “citizen journalist.” Twitter, Facebook YouTube, Vimeo and other social media platforms allow anyone, anywhere, to post, comment or write and upload videos and stories for the entire world to see.

And there is no filter.

The video in question, taken by bystander Daniel Freeman, is incredibly powerful. Many who saw that video said it was an example of excessive force by police. Bryan is clearly heard saying “I didn’t do anything” repeatedly and asking the police to stop. He is struck. He is tased. And it’s obvious many commenters posted their views based on that video alone.

What the video does not show is what happened prior – what led to the actions taken in the video.

We obtained the video. And there was discussion among the staff about going ahead and posting it. We decided not to for the simple reason we did not have the full story.

Posting the video before learning what occurred prior to that would have been unfair and extremely inflammatory. As we said, the video is powerful. Many people jumped to conclusions based solely on the video without reading our story about the events that led up to what was taped.

As a newspaper, our job is to present the news as objectively and fairly as we can, despite being human. And that is why we delayed posting the video.

So where does it stand now?

Newnan Police Chief Buster Meadows said, “I’ve seen nothing in [the video] that makes me think they did anything wrong.”

To his credit, the chief has turned the video and other evidence over to Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Pete Skandalakis for review.

We will report on the district attorney’s findings when they are released.



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