Video shows New Castle Co. Police punching teen during arrest, DOJ to investigate
A video is circulating online depicting a New Castle County Police officer striking a 16-year-old in the face while arresting the teenager for marijuana possession and other charges.
Officers approached 16-year-old Roger Brown in front of his house in the Town of Whitehall Friday afternoon, responding to a report of drug transactions in the area.
According to a department press release, Brown was sitting on his dirtbike and smelled of marijuana.
The cellphone video taken by Brown’s friend Jaiden Palmer begins with two officers in a struggle with Brown on the ground with one officer striking Brown repeatedly in the face with a closed fist.
“I saw the video this morning online and I was appalled at the treatment,” said Delaware ACLU Executive Director Kathleen MacRae.
According to the release, officers found numerous individual bags of marijuana, a digital scale, prescription pills and more than $1,000 in cash in Brown’s possession.
Former Delaware Attorney General candidate Chris Johnson is attorney for the Brown family.
“The actions by the officers were, we believe, overly aggressive and excessive given the threat, or even potential threat they perceived from Mr. Brown,” said Johnson. “We have to remember he is only 16 years old.”
Brown is being charged with felony Resisting Arrest along with several drug charges. He is being held in the county detention center at $6500 bail. Johnson says Brown is scheduled to be released from holding Monday afternoon.
Delaware’s Department of Justice is launching a civil rights investigation through its Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust into the New Castle County Police Department’s use of force in its arrest of Brown.