Warrior Police Department (WPD) chief Scott Praytor defended his department after a Birmingham-area television news station obtained a video from an anonymous viewer depicting two WPD officers tackling and punching a suspect repeatedly while on the ground.

Acknowledging the video doesn’t paint the WPD in a favorable light, Praytor insisted to WBRC the video does not provide the context surrounding the incident. He said the incident caught on camera follows a high-speed chase on Saturday that ended on Highway 160 in Hayden and potentially involved a kidnapping and sexual assault suspect.

Praytor also suggested that the suspect may have been armed and refused to place his arms behind his back when placed under arrest. He said the officers had to resort to non-lethal force to handcuff him.

“Once they are able to do that, they handcuff him, and the incident is over,” he explained to the press. “That is what we believe this to be.”

Nevertheless, Praytor assured that he would review the body camera footage and that if he did discover protocol violations, he would take the necessary steps to address them. 

Meanwhile, a bill approved by the Alabama Legislature on Thursday allowing police bodycam and dashcam recordings to be released to the public under specific circumstances awaits the signature of Gov. Kay Ivey.  

Currently, law enforcement agencies are not obligated to release body camera footage under the state’s Open Records Act following a 2021 Alabama Supreme Court ruling.

WBRC reported that it had requested access to the body camera footage, which would likely provide more context than the video recorded by an anonymous bystander.

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