Petersburg teen says video shows officers assaulting him

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UPDATE: Police respond to teen’s arrest captured on cell phone video

PETERSBURG, Va. -- A Petersburg teenager told CBS 6 he was assaulted by at least one local police officer outside an apartment complex on Tuesday while he was filming the officers with his smartphone.

Devin Thomas, 19, showed CBS 6 Investigative Reporter Melissa Hipolit the video he said he shot on Tuesday at Petersburg East Apartments.

It shows two police officers yelling at the person filming, telling them to get inside, and then the camera phone falls to the ground.

CBS 6 cannot tell what is taking place when the camera phone is on the ground, but Thomas said one of the officers began beating him.

Devin Thomas

Thomas sent CBS 6 News this photo late Thursday. (SOURCE: Devin Thomas)

“He just grabbed me and slammed me,” Thomas said.

Thomas showed us scars on his chin, ear, chest, and arm that he said are from the incident.

Thomas said he went to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a concussion.

“They hit me in the side of my face with a club, and I was bleeding really bad,” Thomas said.

Court papers Thomas showed up said police charged him with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, which are charges Thomas said are unwarranted.

“I did nothing wrong,” Thomas said.

Petersburg Police Department Spokeswoman Esther Hyatt confirmed they are investigating the incident.

A Lieutenant with the department told CBS 6 it involved a Prince George police officer.

Prince George Police said a complaint was filed Thursday about one of their officers allegedly assaulted a man for filming him.

Prince George Police also said they are investigating the complaint.

We showed CBS 6 Legal Expert Todd Stone the video, and he said Thomas’s actions were perfectly legal.

“Generally speaking, people in the public have a right to film the police as long as they're not stepping into the crime scene and obstructing justice,” Stone said.

Thomas said he was not obstructing anything, and now he wants justice.

“They need to be stopped for real,” Thomas said.

Depend on CBS 6 News for updates on this important local story.


  • kitty

    Seen this video on Facebook…this young man did nothing at all..he was just standing on his front filming the police..and you can hear the police did assault him for not reason at all….some police are pricks….. and it was a black and white cop try that I seen in the video….

    • manalishi

      As the footage would have it, he was filming close enough to be told, but since he wasn’t smart enough to understand the “obstruction” part of video footage AND did not respond when told, “he got educated”. Seldom will you ever hear me go out of bounds over supporting the law, but the punk is too stupid to stand vertical. Cry me a river.

  • Robbie

    If I had a son he would be just like him. It’s whities fault. That young outstanding African American citizen was doing nothing. Enjoy your settlement. Work was never in your future anyway.

      • Racist much?

        It’s people like you that make me ashamed to be a Virginian, and see how far the society that my family helped build 350+ years ago have fallen. Go back to Mississippi where you belong.

      • manalishi

        What did your family build 350+ years ago? Surely some recognizable monument we can see today. Speak up, and don’t stutter this time.

  • Norma Earls

    I really wish Melissa Hipolit would have done a modicum of investigative journalism before posting this story. The kid cut out an entire minute of the video he gave to Hipolit. From the manner and variety of dress of the officers, they were obviously investigating something of importance. Devin, aka, Lil’ Levi Outchea, and others, can be heard mouthing, taunting and disobeying the investigators orders for ALL of them to get back. The “assault” appears to be the officer trying to handcuff Devin over Devin’s resistance. The final scene shows a SWAT team member retrieving the dropped cell phone. IMO, this little punk got off lucky. He should have been charged w/ obstruction of justice. I think the officers cut him some slack because of his age.

    • Kay Gee

      Ur an idiot….clearly you don’t know your rights….I suggest you read up on them…u have the right to record and officer or crime as long as ur not in the way…clearly the young man was not in the way, the officer was mad becuz Devin told him the truth, it would be trespassing if he went in the building he didn’t live in…I need u to get a life and not post abt something you kno nothing abt…resisting arrest? What was he arrested for?? Oh he caught action on video while being black…

    • steve

      You are a idiot. Detectives always wear street clothes and respond to regular calls just like other officers.

    • Racist Much?

      You’re a good little sheeple aren’t you? I bet you’re one of them Tea Party types who screams for small government, but hangs off of every word that the CORRUPT GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE POLICE say. You probably scream for small government, but “support your public servants”, ignorant to the fact that law enforcement is the area of government spending that has seen the 2nd most drastic increase over the last 40 years. Cops are trained to lie, but this little thug … well, he had it coming to him huh.

      I also bet that you have a white sheet and a pointy hat in your closet, next to the tin foil one.

      • manalishi

        You don’t have to like it,,,,,but i agree. I don’t owe the police, or anyone in those projects another dime of my paycheck until i see some damned justice.

      • manalishi

        it’s virginia, it’s petersburg, it’s the projects, and your little brother just got bi**h slapped to the ground. yo feelings hurt?

  • sonia

    Why does it make a difference that he’s black? Why are people responding to trolls? and police have never been above assaulting citizens, and the comment about his pants, sociopathy at it’s finest, ppl with sagging pants sans belts deserve that, ugh humans are the worst, I guess if someone is offended by someone’s confederate flag, or hijab, they should beat them up

  • sonia

    @robbie, in all of my life I’ve never heard a black person say whitey, always white ppl, in the same context you use, diversify your circle, so you don’t come off so ignorant

    • manalishi

      Agreed. Ive been called everything else (even while repossessing their s**t) but never “whitey” “cracker” or “honkey”.

  • sonia

    @wake up, welfare as in the government stipend poor Europeans received during their mass migration through Ellis island??

  • sonia

    I recall saying they received a monthly stipend, I never mentioned snap, safe link etc., I’m not interested in discussions, but thanks, I know my history, and I could care less to be quizzed about it by anyone

    • manalishi

      Yes, you said stipend. You never mentioned snap, safe link, ect. Your not interested in making yourself look small. But it’s too late, isn’t it.

  • sonia

    everything is a matter of perception, you expressed interest in a history discussion, I’m used to polite interaction and civilized discourse, you wouldn’t know what to do

    • manalishi

      Perception has nothing to do with reality. Sell your amway elsewhere. I’ve seen your “polite interaction” and “civilized discourse” which turns out to be a perception, not reality. I do not pretend or or feign to be polite.

  • Kenny

    It’s funny how this became a race issue really quick, there was a BLACK Officer involved in this as well people. I’m sorry I know people have the right to film the Police or whatever they want but I think when a Police Officer is trying to do their job and being in their face with a phone filming them is not the right time. Because if someone they are trying to arrest pulls out a gun and starts shooting and the person filming the Police gets shot or hurt then they are going to want to sue somebody, I can see it happening. If you want to film the Police due it at a safe distance and don’t get in the way.

  • Hey Manalishi

    My family built many homes and churches in eastern VA including designated historical sites. They fought in the American Revolution. I’m a graduate of the finest public educational institution in this state. You foolishly mistake the use of internet slang for ignorance. I’m sure if it was a white kid who got beaten or, say, a white girl who got arrested for buying bottled water, you’d think differently. But all you see is a black kid and the projects and not an American exercising their Constitutional rights and getting beaten for it.

    It’s the dissenters who brought race into the discussion. Yes one of the thug cops is black? So what? It’s not about color … it’s about an American being beaten by thug cops whose salary I pay. The cop defenders who call the kid a thug on welfare and that he had it coming are the ones who make it about race.

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