Prosecutors will review case of man thrown to ground by Kansas City police officer




  • In US
  • 2022-11-24 04:02:00Z
  • By Kansas City Star

Prosecutors will review an incident in which a man appears to have been thrown to the ground by a Kansas City police officer.

The Jackson County Prosecutor's Office said Wednesday that prosecutors asked police to investigate the exchange that left Kansas City resident Mack Nelson briefly unconscious after he was forced onto the pavement.

Mike Mansur, a spokesman with the prosecutor's office, said prosecutors will review the results of the investigation.

During the early morning hours of Aug. 8, Steve Young, co-founder of police accountability group KC LEAP, recorded Nelson being seemingly thrown down hours after Zachary Garrard, 31, was shot and killed by police after allegedly driving toward officers in a vehicle that police say was previously reported stolen.

Nelson said he was at the East 55th Street and Prospect Avenue gas station the evening Garrard was shot and was asked to stay inside the gas station for a period of time. The exterior was closed off with police tape while officers processed the scene.

Mack Nelson, 44, takes a photo to show a head injury he received in the early morning hours of Aug.
Mack Nelson, 44, takes a photo to show a head injury he received in the early morning hours of Aug.  

After being told he could leave, Nelson exited and immediately entered the crime scene. Nelson said he was upset with the officers for shooting somebody, and he questioned how thoroughly they were investigating. He began to video the officers for Facebook Live and say things they didn't appreciate, according to Nelson.

Nelson said he last remembers being asked to step outside the police tape. He doesn't remember the officer who threw him down in the video. Young, who was watching the incident just a few yards away, said Nelson did not lay hands on the officer.

"It was really upsetting to see that, because it just came out of nowhere," Young said. "This guy wasn't being a threat to them."

Nelson's attorney, John Picerno, said he would like to see the officer in the video prosecuted. Nothing Nelson did warranted that amount of force, he said.

"Let's just say, for the sake of argument, he didn't move out of the crime scene maybe as quickly as the officers would have liked him to have done," Picerno said. "There was no reason or no justification for him to be treated that way ... That was a criminal assault."

Nelson received stitches for his head injuries and spent the night in jail after being ticketed with disorderly conduct, trespass, and obstructing or resisting police.

Mack Nelson, 44, shows his injuries after he was thrown to the ground at the scene of a police shooting.
Mack Nelson, 44, shows his injuries after he was thrown to the ground at the scene of a police shooting.  

The Kansas City Police Department responded to The Star's request for comment but did not say whether the officer in the video was still with the department or had been disciplined.

Sgt. Jake Becchina, a spokesman for KCPD, said officers are regularly trained on the proper use of force. While he said he could not discuss the specifics of the investigation, he wanted to assure citizens that situations of possible excessive force are not swept under the rug.

"Our officers have policies they follow with regard to excessive force, and a continuous supervisory review," Becchina said. "All of those things are in place to prevent someone from randomly walking down the street to experience excessive force."

Becchina said KCPD has already turned information about the incident to federal prosecutors, the FBI, and the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office, as is their policy with cases of potential excessive force or civil rights violations.

"I want the public to know that there's a lot of steps in place," Becchina said. "There's a lot of there are a lot of checks and balances, both within our department and within society that try to prevent excessive force."

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