The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is looking into whether a Riley County police officer battered a Puerto Rican man in the early hours of Monday morning.
According to the Riley County Police Department and KBI, a 27-year-old man approached a police officer around 10:45 a.m. Monday in the 1500 block of Poyntz Avenue, saying he had been battered at his home by an unidentified police officer at about 3:30 a.m.
Neither the KBI nor the RCPD identified the man nor the police officer. The Mercury requested the man’s name, which is public information.
According to the KBI, the man said he saw a police car outside his residence near 15th and Humboldt streets. He said that after he approached the car, the officer “committed battery” against him outside the residence and again at the apartment entrance, according to the KBI. The KBI didn’t provide any details on the nature of the battery.
According to Tuesday’s RCPD incident report, which lists calls to the Riley County Emergency Dispatch Center, there is no recorded log of an incident occurring around 3:30 a.m. Monday, but there is a log entry of the interaction the man had with police later in the morning. That log entry doesn’t list the name of the officer.
KBI Communication Director Melissa Underwood said investigators will review all related records in the case.
The man reported being injured and was taken to the hospital for assessment, where he was later treated and released. Officials did not describe the nature of his injuries.
RCPD officials contacted the KBI around noon and said they would cooperate fully with the investigation.
Underwood said officials would not speculate on whether the alleged incident was related to race.
RCPD Director Dennis Butler said he was relieved by the KBI’s quick response to look into the matter and said he looks forward to its findings. In response to recent events involving protests against police brutality, Butler said Friday that RCPD does not teach officers to arrest people by pinning them down with their knee, a tactic that resulted in the death of George Floyd.
“You should know that we do not teach that arrest tactic and we do not tolerate it,” he said. “We use an extensive review process for every use of force in response to resistance and every time we warn someone that we will use force. ... My officers and I know that and we never want to have happen here what has happened (around the country). We try to prevent it by the kind of people we hire, how we train them, and our expectations of how they treat people, including each other.”
KBI officials conducted interviews and a search warrant around the man’s residence during the investigation, but they have not identified any officers who were in the area at the time. Law enforcement officers on Monday had taped off a portion of the property at 1501 Humboldt St. that appeared to be an apartment at the back of the house.
The investigation is ongoing, and the KBI asks that anyone with related information contact it at 1-800-KS-CRIME or online at https://www.kbi.ks.gov/sar.
The reported incident comes as protests against police brutality and the deaths of black Americans at the hands of police have swept the nation over the past week. On May 25, Minneapolis police officers arrested George Floyd, a black man, after he was accused of fraud.
Video footage of the incident shows officers, namely ex-officer Derek Chauvin, pinning Floyd down to the ground with a knee on his neck for several minutes, even after the man loses consciousness. Floyd died after the incident, reigniting protests against police brutality and the killing of black people by officers.
A local protest at Triangle Park took place Saturday morning. About 150 people peacefully marched along Bluemont Avenue during the event.