Albany police address viral liquor store surveillance video

Liquor Store.PNG

ALBANY, N.Y. (WRGB) - A video of an arrest captured at a liquor store Wednesday evening on Grand St. in Albany, shared hundreds of times and viewed thousands on Facebook, has police standing behind the officer shown and explaining what happened.

"Unfortunately, especially with social media, when videos are posted, you're only seeing a small portion of what actually occurred," Albany Police officer Steve Smith said.

The video circulating has many on Facebook describing the arrest as excessive. Albany police showed CBS6 the full video of the arrest. They say just before this occurred, an assault was reported nearby on N Pearl St. - the suspect there got away.

"This officer observed this male inside the store at Grand and Madison to match the description of that suspect, specifically the clothing that he was wearing," Smith said.

That's when he confronted the man, shown here.

"He asked the gentleman to show his hands, you can clearly see from the video near the door that he continues to keep his left hand behind his body."

When the Facebook video recording starts, it shows the escalation following the initial confrontation. Police say the officer's actions were appropriate.

"There are some questions I know from members of the community who have seen this video about the strikes," Smith said. "Those strikes are absolutely within policy, they're used to gain compliance."

CBS6 requested to speak over the phone with the individual who posted the video on Facebook, but was instead only given permission to air the video.

The man arrested was not the suspect in the assault case, but police say Dawan Johnson did have a warrant out for his arrest from a drug charge in 2017, marijuana on him, and a lengthy record including other drug and robbery charges.

"If the suspect had simply answered the officers questions, taken his hand out of his pocket and removed it from the rear of his body, this would've been a lot different," police said.

The owner of that liquor store declined to speak on camera for this story. The person who posted the video simply told us they were tired of seeing police involved in these situations, but again, did not answer our requests for a phone call.

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