To begin, this is not a recent event. This happened nearly 18 months ago in Westover, just outside of Morgantown, West Virginia. Although this is considered “old news”, it’s very much relevant considering what is happening in our country right now. The point of this article is that very few people in the Morgantown area even know that this happened because it was virtually swept under the rug.
This is just one of many stories that highlight the brutality of police officers in the United States. What you’ll see in the video is Andre Howton, a Westover resident be unlawfully pulled out of his home, thrown to the ground, suffering multiple injuries including a broken jaw and three teeth smashed out. In addition, as you can see in the below picture of Howton following his arrest, he also suffered a black eye and multiple lacerations on his face.
Photo courtesy of The Dominion Post
The video shows Howton standing in the doorway of his home. Two police officers tell him that he’s being disrespectful and to go inside. When Howton doesn’t immediately go inside, one of the officers throw Howton to the ground and continuously punches Howton in the ribcage. The other officer tells the officer on top of Howton to “spray that motherfucker, spray him!” He also claimed that the individual with Howton tried to “attack the officer” in the video, although there is absolutely no evidence of that in the video. At the end of the video, the police officer says, “You can both get battery on an officer.”
In an interview with The Dominion Post, Westover Police Chief Rick Panico said that the officers did not use excessive force. “We did a use-of-force report on it and we checked it out and ran it through and we didn’t find anything that was outside the normal bounds. We respond with an appropriate level of force when the officer gets involved in a situation where it becomes self-defense.”
Panico continued, “We have to defend ourselves to control the threat. This officer during this encounter stated he was basically defending himself in the process of making a lawful arrest.”
After watching the video, it’s difficult to see what Panico is referring to. Howton did not present any threat at all to the officers and in fact appeared to be very subdued considering he was just thrown to the ground and beat up. Again, this is just one of many, many videos that have resurfaced in the last week showing unlawful police brutality, but the fact that it happened in our own back yard makes it particularly horrifying.
See the video below and make your own conclusion.
Andre Howton. This gentleman found us downtown today while we were protesting, and asked us to share his story. This happened in MORGANTOWN. Justice for Andre!!!Spread this around as much as possible!!!! We can not let these cop’s actions go unnoticed. pic.twitter.com/XojLigseNZ
— alex alt (@ayeeimalexx) May 30, 2020