Video of Dion Lewis' Arrest Tells Somewhat Different Story
This video popped up a couple of days ago– somehow we missed it.
TimesUnion.com obtained surveillance video of Eagles running back Dion Lewis and his brother, LaMar, being arrested at a Hampton Inn in Albany earlier this month. In it, we see police pointing guns at the two brothers before shoving them to the ground.
The original report, following the incident:
The incident unfolded around 4 a.m., when Lewis and his brother, Lamar Lewis, were locked out of the Hampton Inn on Chapel Street, police said. The two men, who police say were intoxicated, then tried to get back into the hotel, but the sliding glass door to the lobby was locked, Officer Steve Smith said.
According to the police report, Dion and Lamar Lewis struck the doors "with such force as to rock them and nearly break them from their hinges." They then pulled on the alarm outside the hotel's lobby, the report said.
It seems their actions were blown out of proportion.
In the video, we don’t see either Lewis striking doors or acting aggressively, nor was the fire alarm pulled (of course, the tape doesn’t start until police are right outside, so it’s entirely possible a lot happened before they arrived): [Times Union]
On Monday, David Gonzalez, the Albany County assistant district attorney who handled the case, said that the fire alarm was never pulled, but rather that the clear plastic case that protects the fire alarm was jostled. That triggered a different alarm that hotel staff described as the fire alarm, Gonzalez said.
The immediate reaction – exemplified by Barstool and Eagles beat reporter Eliot Shorr-Parks – is that police and the hotel worker who called 911 were out of line. For the police, drawing weapons and throwing both men on the floor without any evidence that they were doing something wrong feels a lot like two white cops see two black guys at 4 a.m... but I'm not sure there was another way to handle it.
In the 911 tape, you hear a panicked hotel employee tell a dispatcher that two men are trying to break into the hotel and one of them might have a weapon. Instead of, you know, just letting the paying customers in, the worker called police, seemingly pulling the weapon thing from out of nowhere. So now police think there’s a robbery and are going to act accordingly. Plus, neither brother turned around when police walked in with guns drawn. That’s a bad sign. Most people, when someone points a gun at their back, would, you know, immediately cooperate. The brothers Lewis just stood there.
At that point, the officers couldn’t afford to weigh the situation. They had to arrest Lewis and his brother, and there’s not really a gentle way to do that, especially with all the uncertainty of the situation.
If you’re going to blame anyone other than Lewis and his brother (both still plenty deserving for being idiots), blame the hotel employee. Sure, two drunk guys playing with the fire alarm at 4 a.m. is suspicious, but you wonder if the reaction would have been different if it were two white guys, as opposed to a muscular NFL running back and his brother.
Watch the video and listen to the 911 call after the jump.