• Cellphone video sparks internal investigation of Titusville police officer

    By: Johny Fernandez , WFTV Web Staff

    Updated:

    TITUSVILLE, Fla. - A Titusville police officer has been placed on paid administrative leave and is under an internal affairs investigation after some have questioned his takedown of a suspect.

    Video of Wednesday's arrest at the Cumberland Farms on South Hopkins Avenue was posted on social media.

    "I know he (the officer) has a job and he is out here and he has to do what he has to do, but it's the way you do things," said Clara Williams who recorded the arrest.

    Detective Bernd is being investigated by the Titusville Police Department for his use of force when he punched a 20-year-old during an arrest, investigators said.

    Amari N. Hair, of Titusville, faces charges of possession of heroin and possession of hydromorphone. 

    Hair was placed in handcuffs and taken down to the ground by two officers, the video showed. Moments later, an officer told Hair to stop resisting and then punched him in the face because Hair disobeyed commands to stop reaching for his front waistband, police said.

    Detectives Burket and Bernd arrested Hair in November 2016 for driving without a license, investigators said. The detectives saw him driving Wednesday and knew he shouldn't be behind the wheel, police said.

    "He has a criminal record from juvenile detention center, and recently, and so forth. But I'm gonna say this doesn't have anything to do with what happened yesterday," Hair's mother, Jennifer Hester, said.

    "Public trust is the number one thing we go for. On the other side, officer safety is something paramount to every squad officer out in the nation," said Titusville police Chief John Lau.

    Bernd has been with the Titusville Police Department for four years.

    Hair has posted bail and is out of the Brevard County Jail.

    Watch video of the arrest below: 

     

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