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Social media video prompts investigation into Provo police officers' use of force

Posted at 9:19 PM, Jul 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-14 23:19:54-04

PROVO, Utah — An investigation is ongoing within the Provo Police Department to determine if the use of force involved in an arrest was appropriate.

Part of the arrest was captured on video and is spreading across social media. In the 20 second clip, two officers are shown holding a man to the ground. One of those officers hits the man a few times.

“Makes me nauseous,” said Kelli Potter. “I want to intervene.”

The video inspired Potter and the Party for Socialism and Liberation to organize a protest against the department for Friday evening at Pioneer Park in Provo.

“When someone has been restrained, when they’re handcuffed, they shouldn’t be beaten,” she said.

The arrest happened near West Center and University Avenue in Provo on July 7.

Potter said the man in the video is homeless and goes by the name “Mogli.” He allegedly had some sort of verbal altercation with people on the sidewalk and that’s reportedly when police then got involved.

“He was clearly subdued in the sense that there was nothing he could do, and yet one of the officers was hitting him,” said Potter.

The Provo Police Department declined to interview or provide details on the incident.

On Wednesday, the department released a statement: “The Provo City Police Department is aware of a video that captured part of an arrest and use of force incident that is circulating on social media. The Provo Police Department takes all uses of force seriously. Just as any use of force incident, this incident is being reviewed and investigated according to Provo Police Policy.”

The use of force policy manual can be found on the department’s website.

Each report is reviewed by the Use of Force Review Board Supervisor and two other department heads if needed. The Chief of Police will then listen to the board’s recommendation to “make a final determination as to whether the employee’s actions were within policy and procedure and will determine whether any additional actions, investigations or reviews are appropriate.”

Potter hopes the officers captured in that video will be disciplined and that department will change its policy to include community members on their Use of Force Review Board.

“We think [force] is used way too often and it’s too easy to justify,” said Potter.