PITTSBURGH — The video of Ja’Shon Martin’s arrest has stirred a lot of controversy over the past few months, and he appeared in court on Monday.
Four officers attended the hearing and testified that on the night of Aug. 25, they were surveilling and watching Martin allegedly dealing crack cocaine along Smithfield Street near Strawberry Way in downtown Pittsburgh.
One of the officers said he put Martin in a bear hug when he tried to arrest him, but Martin tried to get away and was resisting arrest.
The three other officers jumped in to help and said they gave Martin several demands to stop resisting but he refused.
One of the officers testified that he punched Martin in the head and applied pressure to his head to affect his balance. The officer said he tried to gain head control which is part of their training.
However, Martin’s attorney said Martin was already on the ground at that point.
The officer said Martin then bit his two fingers and the officer punched Martin two more times before another officer stopped him from punching.
The judge said it was not clear how the officer’s fingers ended up in Martin’s mouth, so she dropped the aggravated assault charge.
Martin’s family said off camera they are glad the judge dropped one of the more serious charges against him.
In a press conference, the Pittsburgh Police Chief said the forceful arrest was justified after they did a preliminary investigation.
But Mayor Ed Gainey said they plan to form a new advisory board made up of community leaders from different backgrounds to take a closer look at use of force incidents like this one.
Ja’Shon Martin remains in the Allegheny County Jail. The rest of his charges were held for court including resisting arrest and possession with intent to deliver.
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