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“WHY ARE YOU BEATING HIM?”: Viral video of High Point arrest draws criticism

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“WHY ARE YOU BEATING HIM?”:  Viral video of High Point arrest draws criticism

“How do you want us to trust y’all after you just beat his ass like that?” yelled an onlooker at the white High Point police lieutenant who repeatedly struck a Black man with a steel baton while the subject was held down, pepper-sprayed, and punched by three other white officers.

The incident, captured in a live video that has received over 7K views on Facebook, took place at 111 Chestnut Drive shortly before 4 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 16.

The 22-minute video begins with the arrestee, since identified as Shawnqueze “Shawn” Ingram, being restrained by three white officers beside a silver Hyundai Elantra that has pulled into the front yard of a residence. Ingram lies on his back in a position suggesting that he has fallen or been pulled out of the passenger side of the vehicle.

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The officer who repeatedly strikes Ingram with a steel baton has been identified as Lt. Jeffery Crouse. When the video begins, Crouse appears to be sitting on Ingram, while the other officers kneel beside or on Ingram restraining his arms.

“You’re sitting on him!” yells a woman from off-camera. “Why are you sitting on him?”

“Because he’s resisting arrest, that’s why,” replies an officer. “Stand back!”

The brown-haired officer crouching at Ingram’s left leans over him and punches him. After striking Ingram, that officer stands and walks around to Ingram’s right.

A fourth officer comes into view at the left side of the frame. A handcuffed Black man, who appears to be in this officer’s custody, is seen standing against the rear of the car. This officer kneels and pepper-sprays Ingram.

Standing, Crouse pulls an ASP from a holster on his belt. This is a collapsible steel baton sold by Armament Systems & Procedures, which lists the weapon as “the preferred choice for law enforcement for over 40 years.” The other officers move aside and Crouse rapidly strikes Ingram seven times.

Crouse then changes position and strikes Ingram four more times, making a total of 11 strikes in the space of a few seconds.

“WHY ARE YOU BEATING HIM?” shout multiple onlookers.

“Put your hands behind your back!” yells an officer. At every moment in which Ingram can be seen in this sequence, he appears to be lying on his back. He later told YES! Weekly “I couldn’t put my hands behind my back while they held me like that.”

“Pull him out!” says an officer. Taking Ingram’s arms, two officers drag him away from the car, off the grass, and onto the sidewalk. Onlookers yell in anger, but Ingram told YES! Weekly that he believes this action saved him from being beaten more by Crouse.

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Crouse sheaths his baton and joins the other officers in rolling Ingram over onto his back and handcuffing him, as Ingram screams in apparent pain. Other officers start arriving on the scene.

All of this happens in the first two minutes of the 20-minute video. There is more anger expressed by the onlookers and more officers arrive.

“My hand came out of the cuff, please sir!” shouts Ingram, who writhes on the sidewalk. “I want to get up, I just want to get up.” His voice sounds like he is crying. “Why won’t y’all leave me alone?”

The officers attempt to haul Ingram to his feet. “Oh, my leg,” he yells, and they let him drop back to the sidewalk, where he continues to groan about injuries to his legs.

“Please let me just lay right here,” he says, but they haul him to his feet again.

“He’s telling y’all his leg is fucked up!” yells the videographer. “The man sat there and beat him in his leg with the goddam baton!”

“Sit on your butt” orders an officer, as Ingram is lowered back to the sidewalk. Ingram sits on the ground, apparently weeping, as the officers stand around him. An officer bends over him and asks him his name.

Six minutes of the video have passed. Ingram continues to gasp and sob. An officer tells the crowd to calm down. Two officers kneel by Ingram and collect items from the grass and pavement. “You’re under arrest,” says Crouse, standing over him.

“You already did that, and I’m not under arrest,” says Ingram.

“Well, you are now,” replies Crouse.

“What are you all doing all this for?” asks Ingram. “That’s all I’m asking. I can’t even feel my legs.”

Crouse says something inaudible. 

“You should know,” says Ingram. “You the one who was beating on me.”

Most of the rest of the video consists of waiting for the ambulance. It arrives 12 and a half minutes into the video. After some discussion, Crouse tells Ingram that he will need to stand up and walk to the ambulance. “No, she needs to bring that bed,” says Ingram.

After an inaudible discussion with other officers, Crouse pulls Ingram into a standing position. Ingram groans, his legs buckling. A gurney is brought from the ambulance. Officers continue to hold Ingram upright, and he groans again, then yells “aww, my wrist, why y’all hurting me?”

“Put him on the damn stretcher!” yells an onlooker. “Y’all beat his ankles,” yells another, in apparent protest over the way Ingram is forced to stand. “You beat a man and ask him to walk?”

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Seventeen minutes into the video, Ingram is placed on the gurney and taken aboard the ambulance. A man who identifies himself as Ingram’s uncle (and who on Saturday told YES! Weekly his name is Alfonso Hairston) has by this time arrived on the scene, and is speaking to multiple officers. After interjections from angry onlookers, the video ends with Hairston talking to Crouse.

“About an hour or hour and a half ago, an officer tried to stop this car,” Crouse can be heard saying off-camera, “and it ran on them. That’s the reason we stopped it.” He then offers a description of what happened next.

“We were wanting to deal with the driver [Inaudible] So, really, we had no reason to talk to him [Ingram] when we stopped the car [inaudible] smelled marijuana in it. Which gives us the right to pull people out. When the officers pulled him out, he immediately took his hands, which we were trying to put them behind his back, and shoved them straight down the front of his pants. There’s two meanings of that. Number one, you either got dope down the front of your pants, or you got a gun. We aren’t really worried about dope, because dope can’t hurt us, but we are worried about a gun. He was told multiple times to stop and put his hands behind his back, and he kept doing it. Whenever we tried to put his hands behind his back even harder, he fell down on the ground and pulled them up underneath him.”

As noted above, Ingram can be seen on his back in the majority of the video. 

“He was struck,” continues Crouse. “We are allowed to do that by our [inaudible]. We can issue body strikes. He was not struck in the face; he was struck in the arms and legs, which we are allowed to do. We struck him four or five times and eventually got his hands behind his back. He continued to fight with us the entire time. Once cuffs were put on, he was not touched again.”

“I understand that cops have to do their job,” says Hairston, “but excessive force. . .”

“That’s not excessive force,” interrupts Crouse. “Excessive would have been if we had shot him.”

“You really think that?” says Hairston.

“I’m not talking about every scenario,” replies Crouse. “He was struck with an ASP. He was struck with a fist.” What Crouse says immediately after that is drowned out by the outraged onlookers.

Hairston then describes a previous incident where an officer allegedly let a K9 bite his grandson. Crouse says “there was no dog in this incident.” Hairston explains that the dog incident “occurred a while back.”

“We’re not talking about a while back,” says Crouse. “We’re talking about this.”

“We’re still dealing with the same shit,” says Hairston, at which point the video ends.

When reached by YES! Weekly on Saturday, Shawn Ingram stated that he had been treated in the hospital, held overnight, and released Friday on a $10,000 bond. He described his condition as “sore all over the left side of my body, and I’ve got a limp.”

He said he was struck “on pretty much my whole body, but mainly on the left shin, the back of my left leg, my left knee, my left forearm and shoulder, and my ribs — mostly from the baton, but also a few punches and kicks.” He also said his head was bruised and scraped from the pavement.

The incident report lists him as 29 years old and 5”6’ and 160 lbs. Ingram, his mother Andrea Parker, and his uncle Alfonso Hairston, all described him to YES! Weekly as 5’5” and 150 lbs. “I’m five-six and my son is shorter than me,” said Parker.

Ingram gave YES! Weekly the following account of what happened:

Soon as the police got behind us, we were already taking a left towards my family’s house. As we were parking, he blue-lighted us. I immediately took my seat belt off because I, of course, don’t want to reach or anything while the officers come to the window.

So, he goes to the other side of the car and asks us for everything and we were cooperative. As he went back to his car, a lot of other police cars started pulling up.

They came to get the driver out and immediately put him in handcuffs. Then they came to my side of the car. The window was down a little bit so I could talk to them. The officer told me he was going to detain me and search me, and I said that was fine. But when he opened the door, the scenario changed.

He said he wanted to put me in handcuffs. I told him, “Sir, I’m not in the wrong, I didn’t do anything. You can search me. I don’t have anything. But I don’t want to be put in handcuffs.”

He then grabbed me. I immediately tensed up because I didn’t want to face-forward onto the rocks. That’s why I pulled back, but it just got worse from there.

Ingram said that everything “became all blurred” after that, and he was not conscious of anything either the officers or his family and neighbors said to him, “as I had several people beating on me.”

The incident report shows that Ingram was charged with Possess Control Substance Schedule VI, Possess With M/s/d Control Substance Schedule II, and Resist Delay Obstruct Public Officer. The report lists “drugs at arrest” as 1.81 grams of marijuana and 31 DUs of “other depressant.”

Also arrested at the scene was Patrick Montreze Brand, the man shown in the video already handcuffed and in custody as Crouse is striking Ingram. Brand’s arrest report notes that he was taken into custody “without incident” and charged with Possession of Controlled Substance Schedule VI, due to the .85 grams of marijuana allegedly found in his possession. In Crouse’s conversation with Hairston, Crouse described Brand as the initial person of interest in the traffic stop. While Ingram was held overnight and released on a $10,000 secured bond, Brand was released on a $2,000 unsecured bond 45 minutes after his arrest.  

“I don’t know where it came from,” said Ingram on Saturday. “I had nothing on me. But after searching me, they said I had marijuana and some other controlled substance. I think they’re trying to justify what they did.” Ingram denied resisting arrest, but also said “if I didn’t protect myself to the best of my ability, I would have broken bones.”

On Monday, Lt. Matthew Truitt, Public Information Officer for the High Point Police Department, confirmed that Lt. Jeffery Crouse of the Traffic Department was the officer who struck Ingram with his baton. Truitt gave YES! Weekly the following statement:

“Any action where a use of force takes place is required to be reviewed through department policy. This incident will undergo a thorough review through the chain of command, with a final review being done by the Chief of Police. This review will include all aspects of the incident to include the reason for the citizen contact, any relevant camera footage, including bodycam or dashcam video if applicable. A determination will be made on the legality of the stop, officer actions in accordance with departmental policy, officer actions in accordance with their training, and overall reasonableness.”

Ian McDowell is the author of two published novels, numerous anthologized short stories, and a whole lot of nonfiction and journalism, some of which he’s proud of and none of which he’s ashamed of.

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