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NHPD Releases Video of Use of Force Arrest Under Investigation

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New Haven police on Wednesday released more than an hour and a half of video showing a confrontation with a New Haven man. It’s an incident where officers are seen allegedly punching the man in the head several times.

“The chief and I felt like it was very important to release all the body cam footage right away to give people the opportunity to see everything that transpired,” said Mayor Justin Elicker.

In the video, Shawn Marshall says he called police for a harassment complaint. The police report from the incident shows officers were there the day before for the same complaint.

The video shows officers spent more than an hour and a half with Marshall on Friday, January 29. They arrived with paperwork Marshall says he never received, showing his rental contract for office space was being terminated.

An officer is heard on camera telling Marshall they’re giving him 15 minutes to move out.

“We are trying to facilitate you getting your property back,” said an officer whose body worn camera video was released.

Officers can be seen escorting him through the office and helping him move out. They are filmed loading up carts 50 minutes afterward and help move his belongings to the lobby. Once downstairs, he’s told he cannot go back up to the former office space.

Marshall then told officers he wanted to file a harassment complaint. The video shows nearly 30 minutes of conversation and even a call for prayer from a local pastor. After attempts to get information failed, they asked Marshall to leave the building nearly 90 minutes after they arrived.

He refused to leave, and officers attempted to place him under arrest. The video shows a struggle with Marshall kicking at officers. The police report says the body camera was kicked off the officer and video shows it face up recording the ceiling of the building lobby.

At one point during the struggle, an officer is seen putting a hand on Marshall’s throat and punching him three times in the side of his head. Another officer intervenes shouting “whoa, whoa, whoa! Stop!”

The video shows Marshall continued resisting arrest and was sprayed in the face. Officers were able to sit him up and flush his face with water.

The mayor says the video is concerning and vowed transparency as an internal investigation is under way.

“We need to make sure that that process is completed,” said Elicker. “We are doing our best to expedite that process to make sure that we interview everyone that was involved and get a full understanding of exactly what happened.”

Elicker says his first impressions are that the officers worked very hard in deescalating Marshall in the attempts to escort him out of the building.

“I think that we need to make sure that we look at the use of force policy and assess whether the officer used appropriate force. And that is what this investigation process is about.”

Elicker says returned a call to Marshall and left a message for him Tuesday.

Greater New Haven NAACP president Dori Dumas says the video looked excessive and immediately raised red flags. She says the community wants answers. When asked if she’s comfortable waiting for the full investigation before making a judgement, she says she wants a thorough but quick review.

“We have to allow the police department to do their job. What I’m not comfortable with is having it be dragged out or taking a long time,” said Dumas, who has been in touch with New Haven Police Chief Otoniel Reyes. “We want this done right, we want it done well, we want answers.”

In a phone call to Marshall, he told NBC Connecticut he’s getting treatment for headaches and shoulder pain.

The police report says Marshall refused to cooperate for a booking photo and fingerprinting. He is charged with:

  • Assault on a police officer
  • Interfering with a police officer
  • Trespass first degree
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Failure to allow fingerprinting
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