Huntsville Police Department investigating excessive force alleg - WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Huntsville Police Department investigating excessive force allegations after video of church arrest posted online

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The Huntsville Police Department is investigating an alleged use of excessive force after cell phone video of an arrest at a church this weekend surfaced.

Joshua Chukwuedozie Ude, 23, was arrested Sunday at First Baptist Church in Huntsville. He was charged with resisting arrest and criminal trespassing.

A statement from the Huntsville Police Department indicates that witness saw Ude and two other men enter the church after the service began. Two of them walked to the front row of the church, videotaping the pastor and congregation, then leaving the church before the service concluded.

A statement from First Baptist Church says they entered approximately 40 minutes into the service, and left 10 minutes after they arrived. First Baptist Church and the Huntsville Police Department both indicate in their statements that the men left of their own accord.

"Some have speculated that First Baptist Church asked these men to leave the service because of the way they were dressed," the church's statement said. "First Baptist Church did not ask these men to leave the service at any time. First Baptist Church welcomes all people who wish to worship and attend our services, and does not have any type of dress code."

They were approached by police officers after they left the church after concerns were raised about their behavior.

"You are arresting my brother because we are in a church," a voice on the cell phone video says. "We are in a church and they're handcuffing my brother. They tossed my brother on the ground, they snatched his phone, just because we come into a church."

The Huntsville Police said that "Ude became uncooperative, refused to leave, and was subsequently arrested."

They say the video tape of the arrest was posted to YouTube within 30 minutes, despite not showing the events leading up to the arrest.

"Initial review of the posted videotapes indicate the officers used appropriate techniques under the circumstances," said Huntsville Police Chief Lewis Morris. "However, I have instructed our Internal Affairs division to investigate any alleged use of excessive force during the arrest of Mr. Ude."

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