EUGENE, Ore. — People on social media are talking about a video that’s gone viral, since Sunday night.
It shows a Eugene police officer executing a court order at Monroe Park, and some are debating whether his actions were just.
Witnesses to the dispute say they don’t understand why the police officer used physical force on a 10-year-old boy. But Eugene police say it was within legal limits and the officer was trying to protect himself after he was bit.
Police say it was a tap on the forehead. witnesses say it was more than that.
“This is not a situation where you’ve got a big burly police officer that punches a 10-year-old in the face and knocks him to the ground. This is a situation where you’ve got an officer that’s under a tremendous amount of pressure from bystanders that’s now on the top of that he’s getting bit,” said Lt. Sam Kamkar, Eugene Police Spokesman.
“On the camera you can see it where he just backhands the boy and then says that it’s ok that he’s in the right, that he’s above the law,” said witness Rickey Johnston.
Eugene police say they got a report of a child custody issue at Monroe Park, sunday night. The father, 32-year-old Brian Wolfe showed police a court order which gave no parental or visiting rights to the mother, 28-year-old Stephanie Johnston. But the mom told the child to run, and police chased after him. Once officers caught up to the child, that’s when he bit the officer.
“What do you do when a 10-year old is biting you, you know? And as you can imagine bites are pretty dangerous,” Kamkar said.
But witnesses say he bit the officer because he didn’t want to go with his dad.
“He was yelling that he had beat him, that he hit him, that he doesn’t want to go with that horrible man,” Johnston said.
EPD says the boy was returned to his father and he said he wasn’t hurt by the officer.