Charlottesville police react to video of arrest on Downtown Mall

Charlottesville police react to video of arrest on Downtown Mall
The Charlottesville Police Department (FILE) (Source: WVIR)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Charlottesville Police Department is reacting to a video being shared online. The clip shows a recent interaction between one of its officers and a man on the Downtown Mall, which has led to charges for the man and an internal investigation.

Video posted to Instagram Wednesday, July 8, appears to show an officer taking a man to the ground near central place on the pedestrian mall. The officer continues to hold the man down on the ground until several other officers arrive.

In a statement release Thursday, July 9, CPD says it was responding to a 911 call about a man lying on the ground. Activists, including attorney Jeff Fogel, called on police to release the officer’s body camera footage.

The police department provided that body camera video, which has some audio redacted to protect personal information of the man being arrested, with Thursday’s statement. The partially redacted footage shows the exchange from the officer’s point of view.

Thirty-six-year-old Christopher Lee Gonzalez was arrested and charged with felony assault on an officer, disorderly conduct, and being intoxicated in public.

The Charlottesville Police Department says an internal affairs investigation has also been opened.

07/09/2020 Release from the Charlottesville Police Department:

On Wednesday, July 8, 2020, at 5:34 p.m., a citizen called 911 to report a 45-year-old male on the ground at 200 W. Main Street. The Charlottesville Police Department, Charlottesville Fire Department, and the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad responded to the scene and located an unresponsive male laying on the Charlottesville Downtown Mall.

During the encounter, Christopher Lee Gonzalez, a 36-year-old with no fixed residence, was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for being intoxicated in public, a misdemeanor for obstruction of justice, and a felony for assault on a police officer.

In the interest of transparency and accuracy, the Charlottesville Police Department is releasing the arresting officer’s Body Worn Camera video.

While this is a criminal investigation and the subject is presumed innocent on all charges, an Internal Affairs investigation has been initiated by the Charlottesville Police Department related to this incident. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Charlottesville Police Department at (434) 970-3280.

As this is an ongoing investigation, there will be no further comment from the City of Charlottesville at this time.

Copyright 2020 WVIR. All rights reserved.