A Black man was seen in a viral video handcuffed with swollen eyes and a bloody face after an encounter with several officers in northeast Florida, the latest case involving the use of force by law enforcement following a traffic stop.
The video, captured by a bystander on Friday, showed officers with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office taking Le'Keian Woods, 24, into custody after a traffic stop. Several officers were responding to the traffic stop and at least three were seen on the video forcefully holding Woods chest-down on grass near a car.
The incident sparked local and national outrage after the video spread on social media. The family of Woods hired civil rights attorney Harry Daniels "to fight for justice" in the incident, according to Daniels.
In a statement on Saturday, Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said the agency was conducting an administrative review of what happened to determine if the officers violated any agency policies. Waters added that the department cannot comment any further on the case until the investigation is completed.
“(On Friday), JSO officers were involved in an incident... in which force was used taking a subject into custody," Waters said. "The agency takes all allegations of inappropriate use of force by JSO officers seriously."
The incident is the latest case of alleged police brutality, where encounters with police over traffic violations have turned violent or even fatal. Recent studies have shown racial disparities in policing and experts have said Black people are disproportionately stopped or searched by law enforcement across the country.
One officer appears to 'slam' Le'Keian Woods' head
According to Daniels and Woods' family, Woods was pulled over for a seat belt violation on Friday when he was "beaten by multiple" Jacksonville Sheriff's Office officers.
The video, which was also publicly released by Daniels, showed at least three officers on top of Woods. The officers held him chest-down on the grass near a street and car. At one point, an officer appears to slam Woods' head into the ground.
Woods can be seen with a bloody face and swollen eyes as he is handcuffed and propped against an officer's legs, according to the video. He appeared unable to sit down on his own and struggles to stand up.
According to First Coast News, Woods' family said there wasn't a warrant for Woods' arrest but he is on probation. The family alleged that the officers were holding Woods down with their knees and punched him.
Daniels told The Associated Press that Woods was taken to a hospital for treatment of a severe concussion after his arrest, noting that his client was lucky to be alive.
"If this video of the officers repeatedly assaulting Le'Keian, slamming his head in the ground and tossing him around like a ragdoll while he's handcuffed and defenseless isn't enough to convince you that these officers need to be off the street, just look at Le'Keian's face," Daniels said. "He looks like he just went 12 rounds with a professional boxer."
Daniels did not immediately respond to USA TODAY's request for comment. The attorney will hold a news conference on the arrest on Tuesday, First Coast News reported.
Online records show that Woods was being held in custody on Sunday on charges of armed traffic of methamphetamine, armed traffic of cocaine, armed possession of a controlled substance, resisting an officer with violence, and violation of probation, among other charges.
Woods was previously arrested and faced a second-degree murder charge in 2018 for an attempted robbery at a Tallahassee apartment complex where his roommate was fatally shot, according to The Florida Times-Union, part of the USA TODAY Network.
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Traffic stops across the United States
A number of high-profile cases of police brutality have begun with traffic violations. Traffic stops are one of the most common interactions civilians have with police and while a majority end uneventfully, experts have said people of color — particularly Black people — are disproportionately stopped by police.
These encounters can quickly escalate into violent, and sometimes fatal, incidents. Hundreds of people, including Tyre Nichols, Patrick Lyoya, Daunte Wright, Jayland Walker, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland and Walter Scott have been killed after being stopped by law enforcement for traffic violations.
Police pull over more than 50,000 people daily and more than 20 million motorists annually, according to the Stanford Open Policing Project. Officers generally stop and search Black drivers at higher rates, the study found.
Daniels said Woods' case "bears a striking similarity" to the shooting of 22-year-old Jamee Johnson in 2019. The attorney represented Johnson's family in a federal lawsuit against the city of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
"Johnson was also pulled over for an alleged seat belt violation before being fatally shot by (Jacksonville Sheriff's Office) officer Josue Garriga," Daniels said on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Sunday.
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Contributing: N'dea Yancey-Bragg, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Le'Keian Woods case: Family wants justice after video goes viral