WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Warwick police have released footage of the moments that led to a sergeant being charged with simple assault for allegedly punching and kicking a man in handcuffs.
The body-worn camera video from the July 15 incident shows a man in the back of a police cruiser restrained by a seatbelt and handcuffs as he struggles to hold himself up.
Officers ask the man if he needs medical attention as his head is almost touching the ground.
The footage that appears to be from the viewpoint of another officer shows the handcuffed man’s head shake, then jolt up.
“What the [expletive] you come at me for?” the man asked. Sgt. Britton Kelly can then be seen unfastening the man’s seatbelt.
“Hey, get out of the car,” Kelly is heard saying. Both continue to yell at each other.
“What’d you just punch me for?” the man responded. Kelly’s arm comes across the camera, appearing to move toward the man.
“You hit my officer,” Kelly said before pulling the man onto the grass. The man then yells that he is handcuffed and calls for help.
Police were originally called to Amsterdam Avenue that day for a domestic disturbance, but when a woman was taken into custody, police said her husband tried to intervene.
The man was then arrested himself and put into the back of the cruiser, where Kelly is accused of kicking and and punching him.
The incident prompted a joint investigation by Warwick police and Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha.
Warwick Police Chief Bradford Connor said Kelly was suspended with pay and the 17-year veteran will face internal charges once the criminal case wraps up.
Kelly was arraigned on July 27 and released on $1,000 personal recognizance, with an order to have no contact with the victim.
Kelly’s attorney, Edward Roy, told Target 12 he has not reviewed the body camera footage yet, but plans to issue a statement once he does.
Kelly is scheduled to be back in court for a pretrial conference on Aug. 10.