Officers "Removed From Full-Duty Status" After Wheelchair Arrest | NBC4 Washington

Officers "Removed From Full-Duty Status" After Wheelchair Arrest

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    The U.S. Attorney's Office is investigating the arrest of a man in a wheelchair outside the U Street Metro station. (Published Wednesday, May 25, 2011)

    The video has caused an uproar online. Two Metro Transit officers appear to lift a man out of a motorized wheelchair and take him to the ground after, according to police reports, the man was drinking in public and resisted arrest.

    Now those officers have been "removed from full duty status."

    According to an internal memo obtained by NBC Washington, the officers have been removed while the U.S. Attorney’s office investigates the incident, as they do with any case that involves the use of force. Dan Stessel, a Metro spokesman, says the men will be reassigned to administrative duties.

    The video was taken by a passer-by on their cell phone camera at the U Street/Cardozo station last Thursday. A Metro statement says that the officers tried to issue an open container citation, but he refused, resisted arrest and then fell out of his chair. But the man in the wheelchair, Dwight Harris, tells NBC Washington, he was thrown.

    “That’s when they threw me down, slammed me down on the ground,” Harris said.

    But sources say Harris had an extremely high blood-alcohol content level, .30, nearly four times the legal limit. Harris said however, he was completely lucid.

    “I was completely in my mind at the time,” Harris told NBC Washington. “I knew everything that went down. I wasn’t that intoxicated.”

    An assault charge against Harris has been dropped, however he will still face the open container charge.