An Ohio police officer was slammed to the pavement by a college football player after police responded to a call, according to video footage of the incident.
The incident took place Monday in Grove City, Ohio, and involved Michael Harris, a linebacker for Eastern Kentucky University, Fox News reported.
The incident was recorded on a dash camera video.
The video begins with the suspect arguing with two police officers. The conversation appeared to become heated, with the suspect moving toward one police officer at one point.
The officers then have the man raise his hands while they begin to pat him down.
However, the suspect they are trying to search resists. A struggle ensues between the officers and the much larger football player.
The suspect shakes off the police and makes a dash for the SUV in which he was riding.
At that point, police try to stop the suspect.
During the struggle, the suspect lifts one officer into the air and slams him into the pavement.
After the suspect went down as well, one of the two original officers, joined by another and the one on the ground, were able to finally subdue him.
Lt. Eric Scott with the Grove City Police Department said officers marveled at the strength of the 6-foot-3, 245-lb. Harris.
Scott told ESPN that Officer Carrie Rose had been trying to calm Harris, but that everything changed when he tried to enter his SUV.
“He’s going through what we would call his progression of force, and they exercised extreme patience, but recognize when he goes for the car, that’s a deal-breaker,” Scott said.
“We can’t have that. The concern is that this person is either in a mental health crisis or under the influence of a drug. Because of his behavior, it was clear that that would be unsafe.”
Harris was “talking excessively and continuously leaning toward [officer] Rose, throwing his arms around, and at one point dancing,” a police report on the incident said.
A second officer also tried to defuse the situation, Scott said.
“The officer does kind of push him back ever so slightly, saying ‘Stay back, man, stay back,'” Scott said. “At that point he’s saying, ‘Just take me to jail, just take me to jail,’ and the officer is trying to use his authority at that point to try to gain compliance.”
He said the officers wanted to handcuff Harris, but the suspect “smacked” an officer’s hand.
“Harris pulled away and walked back towards his vehicle, stating that he was not going to jail,” the police report said. At that point, the male officer used [pepper] spray, but it was ineffective because Harris pulled the hood of his sweatshirt over his face. That’s when the officers tried to keep Harris from getting in his car again, and Harris lifted the male officer up over his shoulders.”
Scott said the incident looked more out of control on the video than it was in real life.
“Fortunately, the officer wasn’t seriously hurt,” Scott said. “He uses his foot to try and break his fall a little bit. The officer immediately remains composed. He has a hold of Mr. Harris and says, ‘I have him, I have him, just get an arm and secure him in handcuffs.’ They worked cooperatively together to handcuff him.”
Harris faces a felony assault charge, as well as misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest, obstructing official business and disorderly conduct while intoxicated.
Eastern Kentucky University released a statement in response to the incident.
“Eastern Kentucky University Athletics is actively monitoring an incident involving one of our student-athletes, Mr. Michael Harris, that resulted in criminal charges against Mr. Harris,” the statement said. “Mr. Harris is currently enrolled at EKU and listed as a redshirt sophomore on the EKU football roster. He has been suspended from all team and football-related activities at this time.”
“Understanding that details of the incident are still under investigation, and, abiding by FERPA laws and regulations, we must respect the privacy of our students. When the facts are established, and the investigation complete, Eastern Kentucky University and EKU Athletics will decide how to move forward responsibly.”
Harris had played 11 games at Auburn in 2019.
He later transferred to Eastern Kentucky.
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