A YouTube video surfaced on the Internet on the Internet on October 29th, showing possible excessive force by officers with the Sitka Police Department. The video shows them repeatedly tazing a Mount Edgecumbe student that was brought in for underage drinking and disorderly conduct charges on September 6th of 2014.
The video, uploaded by school district employee, Alexander Allison, shows surveillance footage at the police station revealing the student, Franklin Hoogendorn of Koyuk, staggering, visibly inebriated, but compliant, being brought to the station, through the corridors, and ultimately into a cell, where three officers stripped him of his clothing and slammed him face-down onto the holding cell’s mat. Through the entire footage, Hoogendorn showed no resistance to the officers.
It was then that the officers ordered Hoogendorn to place his hands behind his back as one of the officers knelt on Hoogendorn’s calf, then straddled the teen and the other officer punched Hoogendorn in the face. Then, Officer Jonathan Kelton, stepped back, brought out his tazer and stepped back in and began tazing the teen on the bare skin of his leg. Hoogendorn could be seen reacting and struggling from the effects of the tazer as Officer Kelton continuously administered the device, the sound clearly picked up on the recording.
Hoogendorn could be heard hollaring “Ok, ok, ok…” but the tazing continued and the officers brought the teen’s arms and legs up onto his back. Only then, did the officers release Hoogendorn and leave the cell. Hoogendorn could be seen lying motionless, facedown on the mat, as someone in the room says, “What a Douchebag!” and the footage ends.
Officer Kelton, the officer administering the tazer, came to the Sitka Police Department in 2013 from the Roswell Police Department, where he left after being involved in the death of a 34-year-old man there after struggling with officers there. That man was also tazed by Kelton.
Although that case was determined to be a homicide by the medical examiner in New Mexico, no charges were ever filed against the officers involved.
Kelton has since left the Sitka Police Department, but the department says that his departure had nothing to do with the Hoogendorn case that was later dropped by the District Attorney’s office.
The person that uploaded the video to YouTube, Allison, said on the YouTube video page, that after overhearing a police officer in Sitka say that it was his objective to make at least one DUI arrest every night, he had decided to observe a DUI investigation in a local parking lot. During that investigation, he spoke with an officer at the scene, and identifying himself when asked, then was arrested.
Allison stated that “Without being charged, without being read my rights, without being given a phone call, I was handcuffed, taken into custody, placed in a cell, stripped naked, given a concussion, and held until late the following morning. The city attorney refused to release the cell video to me. After being released I was not arraigned for seven weeks; my arrest wasn’t recorded in the local police blotter. Appearing in court, the district attorney pulled me aside, apologized for the circumstances, and offered to dismiss my charges of drunk and disorderly conduct, and criminal mischief for my behavior after my arrest.”
Allison gave as the reason for posting the video, “But it is precisely because I care so deeply that I raise this alarm. If a teacher and a native teenager can have their constitutional rights so grievously violated, then it could happen to anyone – to your son or daughter, your husband or wife, your best friend who might have been out at a bar, or was pulled over for a failure to signal a turn.”
Hoogendorn graduated a short time later and left Sitka for his hometown of Koyuk.
The video has gone viral in the seven days since it was posted and has been viewed almost 26,000 times.
Below, you can view the YouTube video.