Child abuse claims have been leveled at the Alton Police Department in Illinois after a police surveillance video revealed Officer Vince Warlick taking action against two handcuffed teens.
The video is very short, and the “abuse” part that has many up in arms occurs in the first five seconds. While it’s not clear why the teens were in custody, nor is it clear if either of the boys said anything to provoke the officer, most following the case online say that it doesn’t matter.
“This abuse should not go unchecked,” wrote Elaine T. Cole. “Where is the officer… now? Is he working. This type of crap is deteriorating the relationship between the citizens and the people who are suppose to protect and serve. It gives public servants everywhere a bad name.”
Others called for an immediate firing and felt that Chief Jason Simmons’ claims of an investigation were pointless.
“Investigating what? Sorry the video shows all and the officer should be fired and charged.”
“As a resident of Alton Illinois [sic] let me be the first to say this type of behavior happens all the time,” writes Charles Sanders. “It is a shame. Alton police have done things under the radar… It’s about time.”
So just what did the officer do to constitute child abuse charges? Have a look for yourself.
Some of the commenters were particularly enraged by how defenseless the teens were and unable to do anything about getting relief from the burst of chemicals.
Still others felt that the public shouldn’t be so quick to judge.
“What it doesn’t show is the stupid one in white probably was kicking the door, and screaming obscenities at the officer. Then he walks back and sits down. When the officer comes in he gives a minuscule shot to both to restore order in the holding room. Notice the one in blue has no reaction and the one in white puts on an Oscar-winning performance. All prisoners know there are cameras in those rooms and play up to them.”
The Alton Police Department has been in flux since the Alton Board of Aldermen reportedly failed to reappoint Chief Simmons, in part for his handling of the case.
The incident happened in January, though Simmons said it wasn’t reported to him until March. Even though Simmons was not reappointed, there haven’t been any replacements set forth, according to the Free Thought Project.so he’s been allowed to continue in his position.
As one of the commenters alluded to above, there is no word on whether Officer Vince Warlick, the man said to have used the pepper spray in the video, has been disciplined.
Do you think the video is an example of child abuse, or is there not enough in the video to tell? Share your thoughts in our comments section.
[Image via Alton Police Department surveillance footage, linked above]