An elected leader of a Southeast D.C. neighborhood says police officers roughed him up Friday night for no apparent reason. Police say he was suspected of having a weapon.
Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Kendall Simmons said he was talking to residents in his Congress Heights neighborhood, when several officers confronted him and asked him if he had any weapons. He said the situation quickly escalated when he replied that he did not have any weapons.
"I tried to walk away. The officer grabbed me and slammed me to my head," Simmons said.
Cellphone video captured part of the encounter. At least two D.C. police officers can be seen holding Simmons on the ground.
A resident watching nearby repeatedly yelled, "That's the commissioner of the neighborhood!"
Simmons said officers detained him but would not tell him why he was being detained.
"For them to attack someone that's for the community like I am, you know, it's just sad to see," he said.
A police report says officers asked Simmons if he had any weapons because he was holding his pants pocket and walking with a limp. They asked him to put his hands up, but police say he put his hand in his pocket and refused. When officers tried to detain him, he fell, the police report says.
A man who said he witnessed the incident told News4 that's not what happened.
"Kendall walked up, and the police jumped out and was telling him, 'Stop resisting,' but he never did anything. He was just walking up the street," he said.
Simmons said he suffered a minor concussion along with scrapes and bruises.
"They humiliated me in front of my family, friends, you know, my mother, my niece, my nephews," Simmons said.
Officers released him and did not file any charges, nor did they find anything in their search.
"I'm filing a complaint against the police, because I do not know to this day what I was being detained for," Simmons said. "I'm confused, and I'm scared."
D.C. police told News4 the department is investigating the incident and reviewing footage from police body cameras. The officers involved are not facing disciplinary action.