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VIDEO: Police pin down one-legged man after 'mistaking crutches for weapons'

Police said the disabled homeless man was restrained after he was spotted 'waving sticks' around - which onlookers claim were his walking aids
Posted: 19/08/2015 10:30 AM
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MOBILE PHONE video footage showing several police officers pinning and arresting a one-legged black man on a busy street in San Francisco has sparked fury on social media.

The footage - uploaded to YouTube and captured earlier this month - shows five San Francisco Police Department officers straddling a homeless man on the floor and attempting to handcuff him.

Throughout the 11-minute clip, the man can be heard pleading with officers that he is in pain.

“What are you doing this for?” he asks several times. “These are my crutches. I use these to walk.” He repeats this throughout the footage.

An officer can be seen at the 5 second time-mark stomping on the man’s prosthetic leg.

His trousers fall below his waist in the scuffle for several minutes before officers pull them back up. As he writhes on the floor bystanders barrack the officers, apparently appalled at their handling of the situation.

It is not immediately clear what provoked the incident, but an article on Medium by an Elle magazine journalist who also filmed the video, claimed officers were called to a report of a man waving sticks in the air. The article claims that those sticks were the man's crutches.

"Is this is how you treat citizens? You're having him partially nude while you pin him down on his prosthetic leg?" said journalist Chaédria LaBouvier as she captured the scene.

"You're protecting and serving the community having this man half naked? You don't protect and serve this community if that's policing to you."

Several officers can be seen surrounding the man and forming a wall between him and onlookers - many recording the incident on their phones - before a fire engine brings him a wheelchair and the clip ends.

LaBouvier said: "At one point there are at least 14 officers involved in restraining this one-legged man. Most of them were mainly trying to block the public’s view of what was going on."

The footage was first published in a posting to the news and features website Medium, and the clip has already generated more than 315,000 views on YouTube.

Many people reacted to the video on social media, calling the use of force excessive.