Man in Wheelchair Arrested by Metro Police Getting a Lawyer

Monday, May 23, 2011  |  Updated 6:22 PM EDT
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Metro is investigating after a video surfaces showing officers throwing a man in a wheelchair to the ground.  News4's Tom Sherwood talks to the man who says police used excessive force.

Metro is investigating after a video surfaces showing officers throwing a man in a wheelchair to the ground. News4's Tom Sherwood talks to the man who says police used excessive force.

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Questions in Arrest of Man in Wheelchair

YouTube video showing Metro Police arresting a man in a wheelchair has people asking if this was justified or excessive force.
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The wheelchair-bound man whose video-recorded arrest caused many to criticize Metro Transit Police is seeking legal counsel.

Speaking to NBC4's Tom Sherwood, Dwight Harris said, "I didn't do anything for them to do this to me."  He said that he was in the process of getting a lawyer on Monday.

Witnesses caught Metro Transit Police pulling Harris out of his wheelchair while putting him under arrest last Thursday.  The incident happened around 3:30 p.m. outside of the U Street-Cardozo Metro station.  Metro spokesperson Steven Taubenikel said in a statement last week, "the patron resisted arrest which resulted in him falling out of his wheelchair."

The video recording of the arrest seems to contradict the official account. In the video, two officers can be seen lifting the man out of his wheelchair and than dropping him to the ground, on top of a metal grate.  Metro's latest statement on the incident was that the arrest was under investigation.

NBC Washington has learned that Dwight Harris had a blood alcohol level of .30 at the time, according to official sources.

But Harris said that he was fully cognizant of what was happening during the arrest.  "I was completely in my mind at the time," he said.  "I wasn't that intoxicated."

Harris is a vendor for the newspaper "Street Sense," a publication put out to raise awareness of the homeless.  He said that he was formerly homeless, but has since found shelter.

On Monday afternoon, his face was still badly swollen from the arrest.  Harris said that he received treatment at Howard University Hospital.

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