A DeWitt, New York police officer has been placed on administrative leave after using a questionable method to detain a woman who tried to bite him while responding to a call about an outbreak of fighting at a local Walmart.
Officers Rory Spain and Corey Buyck responded to the reported brawl around 5 PM EST on July 4 and arrived at a scene of sheer chaos.
Tajenik Byrd, 22 and Tyreana Edmonds, 26 were accused of inciting the violence at the local Walmart. Byrd allegedly pepper-sprayed a group of people that included children while Edmonds reportedly was responsible for striking employees in the face.
Officer Spain ultimately returned the favor as he tried to handcuff and detain Edmonds who resisted, whipped around and attempted to bite the officer. Spain responded by delivering a knockout punch to Edmonds’ upper jaw.
The officer is now on administrative leave until an internal investigation into the incident is complete according to the Post-Standard.
“Conclusions about whether the actions of the officers are consistent with department policy and the law will not be made until all facts are known and the investigation is complete,” DeWitt department spokesman Lt. Jerry Pace said.
“While in route officers were advised that the employees were being threatened, struck in the face, and the customers had also been pepper-sprayed by the same two suspects,” Pace explained in a video released by the department on Friday that showed several different angles of the altercation from surveillance footage, bystander cell phone video and police body cameras.
Spain initially attempted to detain Byrd, who could be seen yelling at a group of people on officer body cam.
“They disrespected my sister. They jumped my sister just two days ago,” Byrd yelled.
Edmonds, who was detained after receiving a punch similar to the ones she allegedly doled out, is reportedly one month pregnant.
Edmonds was charged with second-degree attempted assault of a police officer, obstruction of governmental administration, resisting arrest, fourth-degree criminal mischief, disorderly conduct and second-degree harassment. Byrd also received charges of third-degree assault, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, endangering the welfare of a child, possession of a noxious material, obstruction of governmental administration and resisting arrest.
A group of about 25 people held a protest in response to Officer Spain’s actions in the parking lot of the DeWitt police department on Friday.
While the video footage of Edmonds receiving the punch was certainly jarring, critics argue that the officer’s actions were not unwarranted. Edmonds was physically resisting arrest and it’s believed she could have endangered the officer had she had the chance to deliver her attempted bite.
Both women were later released on appearance tickets.
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