A woman we are calling Rosemary Wilson (she requested anonymity) contacted the Advocate after witnessing what appears to be police brutality on June 23. She was driving on Blake Street when she came upon two New Haven cops punching, kicking and stomping Joseph Donaby (pictured above) who appeared subdued. Requests for a copy of the police report have so far gone unanswered. But according to the crime blotters in the Register and the Independent, police say Donaby had a gun. Wilson says she did not see a gun during her time on the scene. Nor did other witnesses interviewed by the Advocate. Afterward, Wilson obtained a video of the incident from an unknown witness on Blake Street and provided it to the Advocate. It contains a minute's worth of footage. Donaby moans in pain throughout the video while police demand that he put his hands behind his back. Donaby can be heard saying, "I can't." His mother reported that her son sustained a prior shoulder injury that may have prevented him from complying with police. The family and activist groups will hold a press conference Wednesday outside New Haven Police Station at 5:30 p.m.
COPS STOMP MAN
Myra Smith's son told his mother that he doesn't want to be a police officer when he grows up. Not anymore. Not after what he saw go down in front of his house two weeks ago.
Smith's son, along with dozens of other children and a handful of adults, say they witnessed the police beat Joseph Donaby to a bloody pulp. Smith came out of her house after her son told her what happened just as an ambulance showed up.
"He was sitting with a huge pool of blood," she says of the June 23 incident. "I was like, 'Oh my goodness, what did they do to him?' My son said, 'Ma, they were just kicking him and kicking him.'"
According to published reports of the incident, police believe Donaby had a gun.
Video footage obtained by the Advocate captures 1:01 minutes of action. It does not show what transpired prior to police apprehending Donaby. But the video does show two police officers punching, kicking and stomping a man who at the time is apparently not fighting back. The police officers can be seen stepping back once additional cops arrive.
Although the video was taken from a second-story window across the street, Donaby is on the ground, moaning, crying out for his attackers to stop.
In the first 20 seconds of the video, a white cop kicks him four times, punches him twice, kicks him four more times, stomps on him, kicks him three more times, and stomps on him twice while the other cop holds him down.
At one point, while Donaby is flat on his stomach, one officer picks him up by his hair and slams his head on the ground while the other kicks him in the torso.
"Put your hands behind your back," one cop says as Donaby is being kicked.
"Put your hands behind your back," he says again as one of the cops kicks him in the head. "Stop fighting."
"He ain't fighting," shouts a man off-camera.
Donaby cries out throughout the beating.
"Put your hands behind your back."
"I can't," Donaby groans.
He says something about his shoulder.