July 3, 2003 -- — A Warren, Ohio, man whose arrest on drug charges was caught on videotape says police used excessive force when they wrestled him to the ground after a traffic stop.
Lyndal L. Kimble, 29, was pulled over outside his house Saturday, after not signaling for a turn. Police say the struggle began when they saw Kimble try to hide a bag filled with crack cocaine in his mouth. But a videotape taken by a neighbor of the arrest has sparked debate about police and excessive force.
The tape shows the Warren County police officers slamming Kimble to the ground, kneeing him in the head and spraying him twice with a chemical. Kimble told ABCNEWS' Good Morning America that he remembers thinking he was extremely frightened during the struggle.
"They going to kill me if somebody don't stop this," Kimble said he remembered thinking during the arrest.
According to the police report, one of the two officers who approached Kimble's car ''observed the driver … put a large white object in a plastic baggie into his mouth.''
White Substance Identified as Cocaine
Test results released Tuesday by the state's Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation found the bag did contain cocaine.
Kimble is charged with felonious assault, resisting arrest, tampering with evidence and felonious possession of drugs. Kimble pleaded innocent Monday and was released from the Trumbull County Jail after a bonding company posted a $20,000 bond, a court official said.
His attorney Richard Olivito said that police crossed the line into excessive force when they went for Kimble's throat. The police claim they were trying to remove a bag of drugs from Kimble's mouth before he swallowed it, and that they were actually trying to save his life.
Olivito says the tape shows that police used excessive force no matter what their intentions were.
"They did not ask him at any time to divulge what was in his mouth," Olivito said. "They did not even give him a chance."
Warren Police Department officials declined an offer to appear on Good Morning America, saying they would rather discuss the matter in court.
Internal Affairs Investigation
Police Chief John Mandopoulos said his department's Internal Affairs division will investigate the arrest. The Warren-Trumbull County Urban League official has already asked the federal government to investigate possible excessive force in the Kimble arrest.
The arresting officers will remain on their regular patrol assignments, according to Mandopoulos.
Kimble claims his shoulder was hurt in the struggle. Police said two of the arresting officers suffered minor injuries during Kimble's arrest. Kimble is scheduled to appear in court in early August.