An Idaho cop caught on dashcam elbowing a suspect on the hood of a patrol car was charged with misdemeanor assault by his own police chief.
But many in the community are saying Pocatello Police Detective Steven Westfall should have been charged with a felony.
And others are saying he is a hero and should not charged because they once had a positive experience with him.
The incident took place July 10 when Pocatello police responded to an IRS building on a call about a man with a knife who was arguing with a security guard and was not allowing himself to be searched.
James Rutherford did not have a knife, just a set of house keys, but when he pulled out a phone to begin recording the cops, he was grabbed by officers and escorted out of the building.
The dashcam video shows two uniformed cops marching him to the front of a patrol car, which was where they proceeded to search him.
Rutherford tells them he does not consent to searches, which was when the two uniformed cops force his head into the hood of the car.
That was when Westfall, who is in plainclothes, walks up from behind and delivers and elbow blow to the side of his face.
The incident quickly drew the attention of Pocatello Police Chief Scott Marchand, who launched an investigation and last week announced that Westfall would be charged with a misdemeanor charge of unnecessary assault by a police officer.
Westfall claimed that he saw Rutherford headbutt another officer, which was why he elbowed him, but it’s impossible to headbutt anybody when your head is already planted firmly on the hood of a car.
Rutherford was charged with trespassing and resisting arrest.
A video of the incident along with a video of Chief Marchand’s press conference discussing the charges are posted below.