Video of Arrest Sparks Allegations of Police Brutality

A video of an arrest in Chester, Delaware County has sparked allegations of police brutality as well as an investigation.

The cellphone video, which was posted on Facebook, shows a group of police officers arrest a man on Lehman Street on the border of Chester City and Chester Township late Sunday morning.

In the video the man, identified by family and friends as 49-year-old Walter Moat, appears to initially resist arrest. Once he is taken to the ground the officers repeatedly punch him while claiming he has gun, which Moat's friends and family have denied. One officer also appears to kick him in the chest.

“He was lying on the ground and he was handcuffed,” said Taniece Day, a friend of Moat who witnessed the incident. “He was lying on his side. His face was all bloody. He had knocks on his head and the cops were kicking him, tasing him, punching him, throwing him on the ground, pulling his pants down.”

Day says the ordeal began when Moat was driving in the wrong direction on a one-way street and encountered a police officer who was responding to a home break-in call.

“They could’ve just gave him a ticket or something,” she said. “They didn’t do that.”

As more officers arrived and began to arrest Moat, another witness began recording on his cellphone.

In the two-minute clip, Moat, who friends and family say has developmental issues and a speech impediment, appears to be resisting arrest at first. After he is taken to the ground the officers repeatedly punch him. The pop of a taser is also heard at least twice. An officer also screams that Moat has a gun as the others continue to punch him.

“I didn’t see a gun,” Day said.

Moat's mother Betty Ann Moat also doesn't believe her son was armed.

"They said something about a gun," she said. "Walter didn't have no gun. If he had a gun why didn't they search him in the beginning?"

Matthew Horace, a security expert and former ATF agent, viewed the video of the arrest, which he found troubling.

“It looked as though it was a little much to be able to get one individual who was not being totally non-compliant into handcuffs and get him moving on his way,” Horace said.

Moat is currently being held in the Chester County prison after receiving treatment at the Crozer-Chester medical center. 

NBC10 reached out to both Chester City and Chester Township officers for comment. A police spokesperson said they recovered a gun from Moat’s front pocket. Moat’s friends told NBC10 they never saw one however.

On Wednesday Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan told NBC10 he watched the video and is currently interviewing officers and witnesses to find out what led to the arrest.

"If he did have a gun and we're looking at the entire picture, those officers may have been in jeopardy at that point in time if he was armed with a weapon," Whelan said.

Whelan said it could take weeks before investigators talk to everyone involved and collect any other possible cellphone videos of the incident.

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