York police officer fighting with man caught on camera goes viral

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YORK, Pa. -- A video of a York City police officer and a man getting into a physical fight is going viral. Now police are investigating who was in the wrong.

Matthew Bair was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. According to police, two men were yelling curse words and leaning over the wall of a city parking garage.

When Officer Daniel Craven arrived at the scene, he asked for the men's identification. Bair refused, and the officer asked him to get out of his car.

A video taken by James Davis, a passenger in another vehicle, shows part of the incident, and it was posted on Facebook.

Davis said what he recalls before he started recording: "Bair did not give his ID. The officer would not state his name or give us his name or badge number at all. That's when the officer got a little aggravated at us."

The officer then asked Bair to get out of his car.

"So at this point the officer opens the door, and that's when my friend Howse says 'OK well I see we are going to be here for a while so I'm going to step out of the car.' The officer never said we were being detained or hold for anything, so he thought he was alright to leave the vehicle and that's when I started recording," Davis said.

York City Police Chief Wes Kahley said, "We were notified of the video over the weekend when it went out on Facebook, and we're looking into what occurred during that arrest."

In the video, Bair was cursing at the officer, and when more officers arrived Craven is seen getting on top of Bair and hitting him while Bair's hands are in the air. Now police are investigating the situation.

"We're trying to talk to witnesses and pull information so we can make sure our officer was correct in the actions that were taken," Kahley said.

Some people who live in the city said they don't think the officer's actions were right.

Jessica Rohler, who lives in York, said, "I thought it was wrong, disrespectful to the man that was in his car, didn't do nothing, might have been drunk but that's about it."

National Civil Rights Attorney Devon Jacob said in a statement, "While I am quick to call out law enforcement when they engage in wrongdoing, I believe it is necessary to acknowledge officers who perform their jobs well. When faced by multiple disrespectful persons who were acting ignorantly and in clear violation of the law, this York City police officer showed great restraint. He waited for backup before going hands on, and did not use any more force than was reasonably necessary to affect Mr. Bair’s arrest. Undoubtedly, there is bodycam video and other evidence that must be reviewed before a final decision can be made regarding the lawfulness of the officer’s conduct. My hope, however, is that the review is completed by the end of this week, with complete transparency, so that the officer, Mr. Bair, and the community, can move forward before the holiday weekend."

Others said both were in the wrong.

Larry Odoms, who also lives in the city, said, "Our community is suddenly retaliating against the police when the police are supposed to be here to help us. But then the police, they're abusing their authority a little bit too much sometimes."

Kahley is asking the public to stay calm.

Kahley said, "Reserving judgment is the biggest thing. We know that the video only represents a small portion of what happened so we're going to make sure we have all the facts before we make a proper decision or even an announcement to the public as to where we stand on the arrest."

Bair is being held at the York County Prison on $10,000 bail.

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