NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — Police have identified two men who were arrested during an altercation with officers on the side of a busy Newport street last weekend.
The incident was caught on camera early Sunday morning on Thames Street and has since made its rounds on social media. The video shows one officer pinning a man to the side of a trolley just moments before a different officer shoves another man into a streetlight.
The footage also shows the second officer smacking another man across the face before tackling him.
The Newport Police Department said Wednesday that Officer John Sullivan was conducting crowd control in the area of Thames and Green streets when he saw a man throw a silicone bar mat at someone walking down the sidewalk.
Police said Sullivan asked the man, identified as 22-year-old Dennis Engleson, and his friends to leave the bar immediately.
Engleson, according to police, “made it clear” he was not going to leave and began shouting belligerently at Sullivan.
Police said Sullivan asked Engleson to leave five times before deciding to arrest him for disorderly conduct.
But Engleson actively resisted his arrest, which police said prompted Sullivan to call for backup.
Officer Neil Sullivan and Detective Patrick Walsh both responded to the scene to assist Sullivan.
That’s when another man, identified by police as 22-year-old Christopher Adams, got involved.
Police said Walsh, who was controlling the crowd, “was startled” by Adams, who had suddenly appeared behind him.
That’s when police said Adams was “brought to the ground” and arrested.
Both Engleson and Adams were charged with resisting arrest and obstruction of a police officer. (Engleson was also charged with disorderly conduct.)
Christopher Millea, Engleson’s attorney, tells 12 News his client recounts the ordeal much differently.
“My client vehemently denies any of the allegations and version of events made against him,” Millea said in a statement. “He looks forward to vindicating his name and his reputation in court.”
Millea also said the videos circulating on social media “are in sharp contrast to the statement made by the Newport Police Department” and should “speak for themselves.”
Craig Hein, Adams’ attorney, issued a statement similar to Millea’s.
“My client vehemently disagrees with the characterization of the events that night,” Hein said. “Once again, the video speaks very clearly.”
It’s unclear at this time whether any of the officers involved have been placed on leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Engleson and Adams are scheduled to appear in court on July 6.