On March 26, a family was arrested in front of their place of worship in the outskirts of Atlanta. The video of the arrest has gone viral on Facebook because it appears to show excessive force by the police officers. But the story about what led up to this arrest is a lot more complicated than what the four-minute video shows.
The video, which has more than a million views, shows a white officer confronting a Latino family.
Estos Pastores fueron arrestados hoy ,estoy sin palabras 😭😭😭😭 Atlanta Georgia 3-26-18 Jose A Farmerio Jose Castillo Martin Rosario Evangelista Carlos Lopez Serrano Anibal C. Baerga
Posted by Constantino Espinoza on Monday, March 26, 2018
The viral video has even been shared by former judge Jeanine Pirro — a Fox News legal correspondent. She captioned the video by saying: “Not complying with Police. Assaulting Police Officers. Stealing Police property (radio and tasers) Yep, you’re all going to jail.”
From some sympathetic commenters on social media, the uproar seems to be that the officer used excessive force on a teenage boy and an older woman. The officer is seen using tasers and pepper spray on the suspects, but the video does not show why the officers are there, or what led up to the arrest.
Police arrested Pastor Wilmer R. Cruz, his wife Cristina Cruz and their two teenage sons.
The arrest occurred at Inglesia Cristiana Evangelica Church in Lilburn, just outside Atlanta.
In an interview with mitu, Chief Bruce Hedley said that Lilburn Police were called to the scene after the mother of a teenage female runaway reported her missing. She said that her daughter was with 17-year-old Wilmer Cruz.
Chief Hedley says that the two young people are in fact dating and that the female was staying with the family. He also added that the mother of Wilmer, Cristina, had a restraining order against her and that she was in violation of that restraining order. The police department did not specify who filed the order. He didn’t, however, specify who had initiated the restraining order.
Authorities released the body cam of the officer, which shows the family did not want to allow the female teen to speak to the officer.
Bueno mi gente aquí está la otra parte de la historia hay que aprender que nadie está por encima de la ley que Dios nos…
The video also shows Wilmer interaction with the officer and the family begins to crowd the officer in order to prevent him from taking the teenage female that was in the car at the time.
“Officers repeatedly instructed people to stand back and continued to attempt to speak to the missing juvenile in the parked car,” Lilburn Police Department said in a statement. “Several people did not comply and in turn challenged and assaulted the officers. During the altercation, officers were kicked, choked, and attempts were made to take officer’s equipment. Eventually officers were able to contain the situation using crowd control training tactics and kept the situation from escalating further.”
Chief Hedley also says that the officer was initially outnumbered and that he showed “extreme levels of constraint.”
In another video provided by police, Cristina tells an officer than the her back was hurt during the arrest.
CREDIT: Lilburn Police Department
The body cam shows the officer speaking to Cristina in Spanish and then goes over to the officer in question to tell him about the complaint from Cristina but the sound is then muted.
The family is currently in custody awaiting trail at Gwinnett County Jail. The teenage female has since been reunited with her family.