Alleged victim of police brutality: 'I'd like an apology' - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Alleged teen victim of Petersburg Police brutality: 'I'd like an apology'

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There is more anger over Petersburg Police officers using force to subdue people whose only crime seems to be shooting video on their cell phones. An alleged teen victim took his concerns to Petersburg City Council Tuesday night.

19-year-old Devin Thomas left that meeting disappointed. The Thomas family had two minutes to speak, and the council made it clear no action would be taken Tuesday night.

"Say Something!," cried family friend Ersecell Matthis. "I'm sorry. Something."

Family and friends went before the Petersburg City Council to speak out on bloody images of Devin Thomas. He claims he was assaulted by police after taking cell phone video of a nearby arrest.

"We are talking about a human being being beat up by the police," said Matthis. "And they are not paying it any mind."

This is just one of two recent police incidents in Petersburg that is getting national attention. Both alleged victims were taken to task and in one case even placed in a chokehold for seemingly just recording video of an arrest.

"I'd like an apology," said Devin Thomas. "But it's not really going to help the fact it happened. Did you see my face? It was bloody. It's not going to help that."

Petersburg Police Chief John Dixon says an investigation is ongoing, and Dixon ruled out an external review.

"This is nothing that seems like it needs anybody from the outside to look at it," said Dixon. "We will do a thorough job of investigating it and come out with whatever the outcome is."

Chief Dixon's statements come days after the he stood with members of the Petersburg NAACP promising a fair review. However, we found an alleged Petersburg Bureau of Police Facebook page.

"We fully support the actions of our officer," reads a post on the page. "Officer Richards, on the behalf of the department, we would like to congratulate you for your utmost display of bravery in a time of danger!"

The page was created in 2011 and is still active. Chief Dixon says the page was not ceated by his department.

"That is not a Petersburg Police Facebook Page," said Dixon. "That is not anything that we put out."

The Thomas family plans to hold a news conference and town hall meeting next week. We are told the family attorney will be hosting those events.

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