A Birmingham police officer was beaten unconscious by a suspect on Friday after a traffic stop turned violent, but his ordeal wasn’t over there.
The officer, a detective and six-year veteran of the force, was lying bruised and bloodied on a sidewalk after a suspect took his gun and pistol-whipped him when a crowd began to gather. But instead of helping the badly injured officer, some of the people there took pictures and posted them on social media, mocking the cop and praising the man who beat him.
The incident took place after a traffic stop on Friday morning. Police said the officer pulled over 34-year-old Janard Shamar Cunningham, also known as Janaris Shavar Cunningham, when the suspect allegedly got out of his car and began arguing with the officer.
Cunningham, who was being stopped in connection to some burglaries in the area, allegedly began fighting with the officer and gained control of the man’s handgun. The suspect allegedly pistol-whipped the officer until the cop was on the ground, bloody and motionless.
Police pursued Cunningman as he fled and caught up with him about one mile away. He was taken into custody.
But as medics tended to the fallen officer, some people took pictures and mocked the cop on Twitter and Facebook.
Other officers were enraged at how the man was treated.
“He was laying there lifeless and people were standing around taking pictures,” said Birmingham police Sgt. Heath Boackle, president of the Fraternal Order of Police. “If the tables were turned, and that was a suspect lying there, they would be rioting.”
Boackle said the incident underscores the need for better relations between police and the community, and the perception about the dangers of police work.
“If the officer would have shot him, then he would have shot an ‘unarmed man.’ Instead, he took the gun from the officer,” Boackle said of Friday’s incident. “The officer had every right to shoot him. We’re lucky we’re not talking about him killing the officer.”
Janard Cunningham has been charged with attempted murder for allegedly pistol-whipping the police officer, WIAT reported. The detective was taken to the hospital but was later released and is now recovering at his home.
[Image via Facebook]