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TPD accused of using excessive force during arrest

Published: Aug. 31, 2020 at 10:40 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Topeka Police Department is being accused of using excessive force during an arrest last week.

Pastor Gregory Bland posted on social media and reached out to 13 NEWS. He says he’s representing a woman who was pulled over and arrested August 23rd.

He says the woman was originally pulled over for running a red light. She told officers that she was driving with a suspended licence.

Bland says officers ordered her out of the car, and slammed her face into the side of the vehicle, and then down onto the ground.

He says the woman suffered a fractured nose, and severe eye injuries.

Bland says he’s met with the City of Topeka’s Independent Police Auditor Ed Collazo, who is looking into the use of force.

In a statement, the Topeka Police Department says it has been investigating the arrest since it happened - with a shift commander responding to the scene.

TPD says it is an extensive process to review use of force cases, going through multiple layers before a conclusion is made.

In a statement, Black Lives Matter Topeka said it spoke with Chief Cochran, and he told them the officer lost his footing when taking the woman down.

BLM calls that an excuse, and asked for systemic change. Specifically, BLM is looking for an office of police accountability to be created, with a community selected director and oversight board.

13 NEWS reached out to Chief Cochran - he says BLM misquoted him when it said Cochran confirmed a use of excessive force.

He says the officer felt the woman was resisting arrest, and intentionally took her to the ground. He said in the officer attempted to put her down on the grass, but lost his footing and she ended up going down over the curb.

He says her injuries are from hitting the ground.

13 NEWS has filed an open records request for the body camera footage of the officers involved.

Bland says he, along with the woman and her attorneys will hold a news conference Wednesday to give more details.

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