As a police officer tried to arrest an assault suspect, he found himself on the ground being brutally beaten. However, when the seriously injured officer pleaded with bystanders for help, all he received was ridicule.
Video footage circulated on social media, stirring outrage after Officer Michael Sales, 27, was overpowered and savagely beaten while trying to make an arrest in Rowland, North Carolina. The vicious attack was initially livestreamed on Facebook, but the fistfight isn’t even the most disturbing aspect of the footage.
The incident unfolded at approximately 1 a.m. when Officer Sales responded to a call about a domestic disturbance, as he was the only officer in the area, The Police Tribune reports. It was then that he encountered suspect Jamel Alphonso Rogers before things took a violent turn.
The video captures Officer Sales engaging in a physical confrontation with Rogers, who was allegedly resisting arrest. The suspect then prevents Sales from handcuffing him by repeatedly rushing him and taking out his legs. Once on the ground, Sales is brutally beaten several times, leaving him bloodied and dazed.
Perhaps the most disturbing element of the incident is the crowd’s reaction to the officer’s struggle and subsequent injuries. The individual who livestreamed the scuffle to Facebook can be heard relentlessly mocking Officer Sales and inciting Rogers to continue the assault as other witnesses stand idly by.
Let him whoop his a—! Let him whoop his a—!” an unidentified man can be heard telling Rogers.
“Don’t you let that man take you to f— jail!” the same man says.
Finding himself unable to defend himself, much less restrain Rogers, Officer Sales calls out for help. However, he quickly realizes that he is on his own as his cries are met with mockery.
After the suspect once again overpowers Sales, sitting on top of him and punching him in the face, another man steps in and drags him off the officer. Of course, it isn’t long before the assault resumes and Officer Sales is beaten. Moments later, the suspect slams Sales into the side of the patrol car and punches him in the face. By this point, bystanders realize that Officer Sales has lost possession of his service pistol in the midst of the brawl.
“Don’t let that man take you to damn jail,” he repeatedly yelled. “F—k that s—t…f—k the police!”
“Police scared as hell,” he laughed a moment later. “He said, ‘help me, y’all!’ That man asked me to help him, and he’s the goddamned police.”
“That man looking for his goddam gun,” he said. “Where your gun at? You ain’t got your gun! I’m gonna find that mother—ker…you can’t do nothin’ without your gun!”
The camera focuses on Officer Sales’ bloodied face as the person recording exclaims, “Damn, boy, you f—ked him up!” Dillon County deputies and Robeson County officers arrived on the scene soon after and arrested Rogers. He was then charged with assault with a deadly weapon, intent to kill while inflicting serious injuries, kidnapping, and two counts of resisting a public officer.
Officer Sales had to be airlifted to a local hospital and treated for multiple injuries, including a possible orbital fracture. His firearm and other gear were recovered at the scene.
Robeson County Sheriff Burnis Wilkins lamented the incident, calling it “the harsh reality that law enforcement in America is facing right now.” He warned that the incident is part and parcel of the “disregard for authority” as well as the demonizing and dehumanizing of police officers.
Many have pointed out that there was no good outcome for the situation. If the officer had responded successfully with force, the anti-police movement could have smeared him as a racist. Fortunately, the officer survived what so many others who refused to use lethal force to defend themselves haven’t.