A man said he is suing a Maryland police department alleging excessive use of force caught on video.
Mikel Kennie, 24, was arrested outside a convenience store in District Heights Thursday night.
Kennie said he was distributing apparel from his clothing line when he and his friends were boxed in by Prince George’s County police officers.
“Eventually after striking one of my friends and subduing them, they struck me, as well,” Kennie said.
Kennie suffered bruises and lacerations and said he suffered a concussion
“I don’t know what death is like, but this felt like death,” he said.
Police said the officers approached the men to issue citations for trespassing when one person became aggressive.
A police statement says in part, “The suspect ontinued to refuse to comply with orders to put his hands behind his back so he could be handcuffed. Two additional officers were required to make the arrest. One officer did strike the suspect in order to help gain control of his hands.”
Kennie was charged with assaulting an officer, resisting arrests and trespassing.
“The force that was used on him was not reasonable,” attorney Darrell Robinson said. “He was taken to the ground and as the video shows he was struck several times.”
Video of the arrest shows the officers involved were not wearing N95 masks required by the department to prevent the spread the coronavirus.
"I tried to protect my face; they weren't wearing masks," Kennie said.
Police said there is no dashcam video of the incident and the officers involved were not wearing body cameras.
The incident is under investigation, but the officers have not been suspended.
After Kennie was in custody, police learned he had an outstanding warrant for driving on a suspended license. That has been resolved.
News4 is checking with the police department about the officers who were seen on camera not wearing N95 masks.
Kennie, who works as a government contractor according to his attorney, started Whatispluto four years ago and distributes the apparel around the area.