A viral video showing the brutal arrest of a Clearwater man during a political rally in Palm Harbor, Florida, has raised concerns over a deputy’s use of excessive force.
The 43-second video shows deputies repeatedly punching a Joe Biden supporter in the head and elbowing him in the back multiple times as he’s being held to the ground, reports WNMF.
“Whitney Wentz has joined friends on the corner of U.S. 19 and Nebraska Ave in Palm Harbor for two months now. She said the group waved signs to show support for presidential candidate Joe Biden and raise excitement for the election,” the outlet reported.
“We’re not here to create anything but other than sign-waving,” Wentz said. “It was the whole reason why I got involved. It was peaceful.”
“But at their last event before Election Day, things turned violent as a group of Trump supporters arrived in their usual spot before they did. The violence though didn’t come from a clash between Trump supporters and Biden Supporters. Wentz said the violence came from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. From the men she’d hoped were there to protect her.”
“I was like, things get crazy. The police are gonna be there, and they’re gonna help. I didn’t expect that,” she said.
A woman who asked not to be named for fear of retribution recorded the arrest.
“The police went from behind him and grabbed his arm. And he didn’t know who was after him. And he was saying I didn’t do anything and the cops proceeded to beat the, stomp the living out of him,” she said. “It was horrible. It was absolutely horrible.”
The Sheriff’s Office claims the man was arrested after deputies said he was instigating fights and struck a deputy who was trying to pull him away. Deputies said he carried signs with swastikas But witnesses said that’s not how it happened.
“There was no Nazi, there was no swastika,” she said, disputing their account. “There was nothing. The policeman came out of the blue.”
“It was horrifying. It was absolutely horrifying. Completely unnecessary.”
The woman said law enforcement appeared to favor Trump supporters. When a Trump supporter began yelling at her, she went to a deputy for help.
“They told me I deserved it,” she said. “They’re not even trying to be advocates for everybody.”