A video that went viral on Twitter appears to show Jason Goolsby, an 18-year-old freshman at the University of the District of Columbia, being brutally taken down by police officers Monday night. D.C. police claimed the incident was in response to reports of a robbery, but later said Goolsby had not committed a crime.
Goolsby’s friend filmed graphic footage of the incident, which he posted on Twitter:
In the video, Goolsby can be heard shouting, "I'm not resisting!" even as the officers hold him down and command him to stop resisting.
Officer Sean Hickman, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department, told The Huffington Post Tuesday afternoon that officers were responding to a potential robbery.
"The initial call was for a suspicious person, three subjects may be trying to rob people at the ATM," Hickman said in an email. "The location for the call was 6th St and Pennsylvania Ave SE. Officers in the area responded to the assignment. One individual fled on foot from the police, was chased, and then taken down. The individual resisted, and was handcuffed while resisting after he refused to stop. The person making the video was interfering with police, and was also detained while the incident was investigated. Neither individual was arrested."
Reached by phone, Hickman confirmed specifically that the individual who was "taken down" was Goolsby and that the teenager was detained, but not arrested.
A different MPD spokesman later told The Guardian that “no criminal act was found to have taken place after the individuals were stopped and interviewed," which Hickman confirmed to HuffPost Tuesday evening.
The friend of Goolsby's who posted the video claimed in a tweet that the cops approached the group because "a white couple felt uncomfortable" around the teenagers:
Reached via email, the friend declined to provide further comment about the incident.
The footage of the incident led sympathizers on Twitter to begin posting with the hashtag #JusticeForJason:
Demonstrators also protested the officers' actions in the streets of D.C. on Tuesday:
In May of this year, a video surfaced of MPD officers appearing to use excessive force against a woman at a mental health facility. Another woman claimed several weeks before that an D.C. police officer beat her in front of her children, prompting the department to open an investigation.
For black college students across the country, simply existing can be dangerous. Christian Taylor, an unarmed 19-year-old sophomore at Angelo State University in Texas, was shot and killed by police in August. Police audio of the altercation did not indicate a struggle between Taylor and the officer. In March, University of Virginia student Martese Johnson required 10 stitches after being badly beaten by Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control officers, allegedly for having a fake ID. And Matthew Ajibade, a 21-year-old student at Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, was shot in the groin with a stun gun while in police custody in January. He died as a result of "blunt force trauma," according to the Chatham County coroner.
CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this story incorrectly described Goolsby's treatment by the police.