Columbia Police Chief says Five Points incident video does not tell the whole story

Video shows an officer punching someone in the head 6 times

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — A little more than 24 hours after a video showing a Columbia Police officer punching a man in the head six times was posted on the internet, Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook says there has been a “rush to judgment” based on the comments he has seen on those videos.

Chief Holbrook says the officer who handled the rest followed protocol and is still on normal duty.

On Sunday around 1:45 a.m., Chief Holbrook said the officer noticed Jacob Cohen, 21, and a friend tried to illegally cross Devine Street while officers were controlling the traffic lights. The officer tried to escort Cohen across the street, but Chief Holbrook said Cohen broke free and briefly ran away from the officer. The officer caught up to Cohen, pressing him against the car, and punched his head six times.

“We do not typically train for blows to the head. It’s not the first area we will strike. Officers are taught to strike in the solar plexus (upper chest) to gain compliance. Obviously that area was not available to the officer. He had been in a brief foot chase. He believed he was losing control for the second time, was in pain from the twisting of the wrist, and that was the only way he could gain control,” Chief Holbrook said.

The officer, along with an off-duty officer, eventually got Cohen onto the ground, where they placed handcuffs on him and arrested him. Before the arrest, the video showed the officer putting his knee on Cohen’s neck for about three or four seconds, saying that knee placement was merely incidental based on where he was standing before.

Cohen has been charged with unlawful entry into a roadway, resisting arrest, and failure to stop on an officer’s command.

Categories: Local News