Community leaders speak out against alleged police beating - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Community leaders speak out against alleged police beating

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

African American community leaders are calling for justice after a man was kicked in the chest by a St. Paul Police officer while cameras were rolling. 

The alleged victim , Eric Hightower, also made his first public appearance on Saturday. He did not speak, but he joined community leaders who condemned the officer accused of beating him up.

YouTube video captured by a witness shows Hightower being kicked in the chest by Officer Jesse Zilge. The video has led to an internal police investigation and growing community outrage.

"It was judge, jury, and trial right out here on the street," said Pastor Darryl Spence, of the St. Paul God Squad.

The officers were arresting Hightower after his girlfriend told police he threatened to kill her.

The St. Paul Police Federation released a statement saying the video "does not provide complete context of the incident." The federation also encouraged leaders to "let the facts emerge" before "rushing to judgment."

Jeffrey Martin, of the NAACP, said, "We're not rushing to judgment. We're actually basing it on what we've seen (in this video)."

Hightower's attorney, Seamus Mahoney, said his client is suffering, but "he's going to recover from this."

"I hope the community recovers from this. I hope the St. Paul Police Department recovers from this." Mahoney continued. 

Mahoney also told FOX 9 News that Hightower is healing from an injury to his ear and a bruise on his face in the wake of his arrest.

The NAACP has set up a community hotline for people to call if they suspect police brutality. The number is: (612) 615-9344.

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