Disturbing Video Shows Iowa Officer Pull the Dreadlocks of Montavis Keller While He Was Handcuffed and on the Ground

Laurie Cartwright (L) from the Waterloo Regional Police watches, February 01, 2010, during a press tour at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games Security station.  Cartwright will be part of the Security Workforce/Main d'oeuvre Resp. de la securite during the Games.  Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games security authority introduces the press the procedures of entering a venue during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games at a demonstration in Vancouver, Canada.   AFP PHOTO/ Stephanie LAMY (Photo credit should read STEPHANIE LAMY/AFP/Getty Images)

Disturbing Video Shows Iowa Officer Pull the Dreadlocks of Montavis Keller While He Was Handcuffed and on the Ground

The 24-year-old man suffered repeated mistreatment during the arrest.

Published September 2, 2016

A video obtained by the Associated Press revealed an Iowa police officer repeatedly yanking the dreadlocks of a Black man after he was arresting. Officer Adam Wittmayer won’t receive any further charges for hitting 24-year-old Montavis Keller on the back of the head and pulling his hair. 

The incident originally took place on April 19 following a high speed chase between Keller and Wittmayer. Another Waterloo officer saw Keller speeding through traffic and attempted to pull him over. Keller continued to drive and a chase between him and multiple officers ensued. During the chase, vehicles reached speeds of 90 miles per hour.

After Wittmayer used tire punching sticks, Keller’s car crashed into a residential home. After the crash, Keller exited his vehicle and got on to the ground without resisting arrest. Wittmayer then approaches Keller and calls him an “idiot” and a “moron” and then pulls on the dreadlocks of Keller. The video also appears to show Wittmayer hitting Keller on the back of the head several times.

Waterloo Police Chief Daniel Trelka confirmed that Wittmayer was significantly disciplined for his actions; however, he did not clarify what punishment Wittmayer received. Assistant Attorney General Scott Brown did not press for any criminal charges because he believed a jury would know that Wittmayer was “understandably agitated.”

Keller's lawyer Tom Frerichs is pushing for a harsher punishment for Wittmayer and the police department.

"I can't think of any other job in which an employee is allowed to repeatedly hit another person, pull out some of their hair and still keep their job," Frerichs said.

Keller was charged with four felonies, including attempting to assault a police officer, eluding police and possessing 42.5 grams of marijuana with intent to deliver.

Frerichs forwarded the video to the FBI this week and the FBI will decide whether or not to open a case.

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: STEPHANIE LAMY/AFP/Getty Images)


Latest in news