Disturbing video showing a police officer repeatedly punching a black man during a traffic stop has gone viral.
The man, Richard Hubbard III, was pulled over by two officers of the Euclid Police Department in Ohio. The stop started as a routine one, but a scuffle quickly ensued, and it was all caught on video.
Now, the police officer at the center of the video, Officer Michael Amiott, is facing scrutiny for his use of force during the stop. The Euclid Police Department has since vowed for a transparent investigation of the matter.
Here’s what you need to know about Amiott:
1. Amiott is Accused of Punching Hubbard During the Traffic Stop
After a video taken by a bystander showed the violence unfolding, Euclid police released the footage from the squad car dashcam August 14.
The video shows Amiott aggressively punching Hubbard during the stop. Hubbard was pulled over at about 10:30 a.m. in Euclid for what police say was him rolling through a stop sign.
Officers ordered Hubbard out of the car and instructed him to turn away from them so they could handcuff him because his driver’s license was expired.
However, Hubbard didn’t turn the way as the officers requested, and a struggle ensued.
An officer, believed to be Amiott, takes Hubbard and throws him hard to the pavement, grabbing his neck and punching his head. Hubbard’s significant other was in the vehicle with him at the time and ran out pleading with him and police to stop the confrontation. She then grabs her cell phone from the car and records the incident herself, as Hubbard requested her to do, as he was getting punched by the officer.
Police say Hubbard was resisting arrest while on the ground, but the video appears to show Hubbard trying to defend himself by putting his hands in front of his head.
Hubbard was charged with driving under suspension and resisting arrest. He was also examined at the Cuyahoga County Jail and posted bond.
A mugshot taken after his arrest shows Hubbard with cuts, scrapes and bruises on his face.
Hubbard, whose license has been suspended three times, will appear in court next week on the charges.
2. Amiott Was Forced to Resign While Working for Another City
Fox 8’s Investigative team researched the incident and received documents from the city of Mentor after a public records request. Amiott previously worked as an officer in Mentor before landing a job in Euclid.
The documents say that Amiott was forced to resign from the department after he was caught lying on a police report.
The Mentor Police Department launched an internal investigation after Amiott was asked why he decided to initiate a traffic stop in February 2014. At first, he told his sergeant he made the stop because the vehicle in front of him didn’t have a front license plate. But once he was informed that a car with a dealer plate doesn’t need to have one on the front of the car, he changed his story to say the car was weaving out of control.
The investigation concluded that Amiott had mislead his police chief.
“After reviewing the internal investigation, listening to the interviews and watching the complete video I made the determination that Ptl. Amiott made a false statement in his police report,” Mentor Chief Kevin Knight wrote in a letter dated April 3, 2014. “At no time from the moment Plt. Amiott pulled out to follow the vehicle in question until it was stopped did I observe anything closely remote to weaving.”
Amiott was reportedly told that his employment would end, but asked if he could resign instead, and the city agreed.
3. Amiott Has Been Placed On Paid Leave
After the disturbing dashcam video surfaced, Amiott was placed on paid administrative leave and he or his lawyers haven’t yet issued any statements about the incident.
Hubbard’s attorney, Christopher McNeal, however, has since spoken out about the incident, saying to Fox 8 that it “was an excessive use of force.”
“You can clearly see that in less than 3 seconds of him exiting the vehicle, he was being beaten,” McNeal said.
McNeal declined to comment on more specifics of the case and agreed that people need to wait until all details are researched.
Euclid Mayor Kirsten Gail issued a statement about the incident and vowed that it would be “reviewed thoroughly” by the city.
Read her full statement below:
The City of Euclid and our Euclid Police Department are committed to providing a safe community and to treating all justly and with dignity and respect. We have made great strides in building a bond between the community and its police department. Violence and use of force in any situation is disturbing and difficult to watch. The videos of the incident on Saturday morning raise some very serious concerns. We have policies and procedures in place to ensure that all use of force by police are both lawful and justified. I can assure you the incident will be reviewed thoroughly and appropriate action will be taken. We certainly do not want this incident to erase all of the good work that has happened and continues to happen every day in Euclid or to define who we are as a community. We will continue to work with residents, our faith leaders, and community partners to improve our community and ensure Euclid remains a community where we all can be proud to live, work and visit.
4. The Euclid Police Union Has Backed Amiott in the Case
Since the incident has gone viral, the Euclid Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #18 has released a statement backing Amiott’s use of force during the arrest of Hubbard.
The statement concluded: “We stand with Officer Amiott and we hope that people will not rush to judgment, but rather will understand the literally-split-second decision and response required of our police and will let the administrative review process play out.”
Read the full statement from the police union below:
During these polarizing times, raw video of police officers using force to subdue those who resist arrest can be difficult to watch. Everyone has an opinion about how much force is necessary and how much is too much. It’s easy to provide commentary after the fact. It’s not easy being in the moment, on the street, trying to keep our community safe.
Over the weekend Officer Amiott faced just such a situation and responded in a manner that he felt necessary. Officer Amiott is on administrative leave while the city reviews the situation.
5. Additional Records Show Amiott Had Been Reprimanded for a Few Incidents of Misconduct
Fox 8’s I-Team also obtained several letters of commendation speaking about Abiott, praising him for a “job well done making arrests” and more.
However, the letters also include some of reprimand or caution, including one that dates back to a traffic stop last year.
In that incident, Amiott was reportedly written up for using his gun as an “impact weapon,” and was warned by his superiors to control his temper.
Cleveland.com also obtained the records and described them in more specific detail as follows:
Amiott was involved in two crashes in 2015 and 2017.
In May 2015, he lost a suspect’s cellphone while gathering evidence in a criminal case.
In 2016, he hit a suspect with his gun out of fear for his safety. A letter written that August by Lt. Timothy Verh said that when asked about the incident, Amiott lost his temper and said, “Just read me Garrity. I heard how you are from other guys and wouldn’t have believed it, now I do.”