Body camera video released after man is injured in Florida arrest

Law enforcement body camera video was released Monday in the violent arrest Friday of a 24-year-old Black man who suffered what appeared to be significant facial swelling in the encounter.

Le’Keian Woods was injured Friday when he fled from a drug dealing arrest, and officers believed he was armed, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office officials said.

Body camera video released Monday shows a detective striking Woods in the face at least twice and a second kneeing him as they repeat commands for him to show his hands.

Woods’ attorney, Harry Daniels, has said that Woods was taken to a hospital with a severe concussion and that he “looks like he just went 12 rounds with a professional boxer.”

Police officers arrest Le’Keian Woods in Jacksonville, Fla., on Sept. 29, 2023.Police officers arrest Le’Keian Woods in Jacksonville, Fla., on Friday.

There is an administrative review to determine whether any officers violated policy, the sheriff’s office said. Sheriff T.K. Waters vowed transparency.

“There was force used by arresting detectives, and yes, that force is ugly,” Waters said. He said that “just because force is ugly does not mean it is unlawful or contrary to policy.”

Woods was arrested around 2 p.m. Friday on drug and other charges. He ran from the vehicle stop after he was allegedly seen conducting a drug transaction, said Mike Shell, the chief of professional standards for the sheriff’s office.

Two other people were handcuffed at the traffic stop, one of them with a handgun in his front right pocket, according to the body camera video and an arrest report. It was not immediately clear whether they have been charged.

Body camera video from an officer detaining a driver in a pickup truck shows someone running and the officer saying on the radio, “We’ve got one running.” Others from the truck are then handcuffed.

Florida man’s violent arrest under review after video goes viral

Oct. 2, 202301:17

Another detective chases Woods, saying, “You are f—ed,” through a yard, a parking lot and another grassy area, according to the video. The officer warns he will use a Taser stun gun and then he uses the device, at which point Woods goes down face first onto a paved street, the video appears to show.

Read More:   Discrimination charge filed against Michigan salon after owner’s comments about gender identity

Woods has one arm beneath him, and the detective appears to strike him in the face as he is getting up and as the officer repeats commands to put his hands behind his back.

One of Woods’ hands is behind his back, but the second remains under him. The detective punches him a second time in the face, and at that point his jaw area is bloody, the video shows.

At that point, a second detective arrives and begins kneeing Woods in the head area and saying, “put your hands behind your back,” “give it, give me the hand,” “you’re still fighting me” and “give me the hand!”

That detective wrote in an arrest report that he “delivered four knee strikes to the upper shoulder area, targeting the shoulder muscle to gain compliance of Le’Keian’s left arms.”

“It should be noted there were unintentional knee strikes to Le’Keian’s face during the struggle,” the detective wrote in the arrest report.

After a struggle, Woods is handcuffed, the video shows. The video released Monday does not show that he had a handgun.

An arrest report alleges that Woods had given a firearm to the other person who was handcuffed at the traffic stop. Waters said the detectives did not know that he had given the gun to someone else when he was arrested.

“Based on the currently available information, the agency believes that the involved detectives acted appropriately with respect to the law and JSO policy,” said Shell, the chief of professional standards.

At the pickup truck, bags of a white or crystalline substance that the officer says is powered cocaine, methamphetamine and probably fentanyl are found inside a Burberry box, according to the body camera video.

Read More:   Sunrise police officer shot in Fort Lauderdale; suspect also shot

Woods was arrested on charges of armed trafficking in amphetamine, armed trafficking in cocaine, armed possession of a controlled substance, resisting an officer and tampering with evidence, according to an arrest report.

Woods’ family and their attorney plan to hold a news conference Tuesday.

Video of the incident was also captured by a bystander. Waters, the sheriff, said at Monday’s news conference that some video being circulated appears to have been edited to make it appear that a detective kicked Woods while he was handcuffed.

Waters said body camera video and unedited cellphone camera video show the detective did not kick Woods while he was handcuffed.

Waters said Woods suffered facial injuries when he was shocked with the stun gun and “fell face-first onto the concrete,” and he acknowledged detectives struck Woods.

“They used strikes to gain control, but he continued to resist arrest,” Waters said.

Daniels, the Woods family attorney, said video shows the officers “slamming his head in the ground and tossing him around like a rag doll,” and he called for them to be taken off the street.

Woods was in custody and has a court date on Oct. 24, according to online jail records. He also is being held for allegedly violating his probation from a robbery conviction in Leon County, officials said.

Online court records did not appear to show Woods’ case Monday night, and it was unclear whether he has entered a plea.

Monday’s video from the sheriff’s office and an arrest report refer to the detectives involved by their last names. The sheriff’s office did not immediately reply to a request for their full names late Monday.

Phil Helsel

Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.