On Friday, the Raleigh Police Department released body-camera footage of an officer shooting at a man near Southeast Raleigh High School and another incident where cops beat a man suspected of several hit-and-runs nearby. 

In one video, an officer fired four shots at Najae Riley, a man suspected of trying to steal a city garbage truck after an attempted car break-in on January 4. The second video, from January 14, shows officers pulling Braily Batista-Concepcion from the front seat of a car and hitting and kneeing him as another cop restrained him. Blood drips down Batista-Concepcion’s arm as the officers placed cuffs on him, the side of his face red with blood, which left stains on the pavement. 

Videos of the second incident went viral on social media, igniting calls for police accountability.

At a Friday press conference, Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown told residents not to “rush to judgment” after seeing the videos, as they do not tell the full story.

“The release of the videos today continues to speak to several common reoccurring concerns,” Deck-Brown said. “These videos are difficult to watch and they are concerning, and if they are difficult for you or I to watch, imagine what the experience is like for those who are in the situation—the individuals as well as the officers.”

Both incidents are being internally reviewed by police. Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman chose not to refer the second incident to the State Bureau of Investigation for further scrutiny, though she said she had not ruled out filing charges herself. 

Community activists believe the encounter, which left Batista-Concepcion with a black eye and bruised face, was an abuse of force. 

The video begins with an officer spotting Batista-Concepcion’s car, which matched the description of a vehicle that had just hit two other cars and a utility pole. Batista-Concepcion’s car was missing its back windshield. The officer pulled Batista-Concepcion over and approached the car, demanding he turn off the engine. The cop opened the door and Batista-Concepcion is shown seen folding money, a cigarette dangling from his mouth.

The officer yelled twice for him to put his hands on the steering wheel, but Batista-Concepcion did not immediately comply. The officer, shouting “get out the vehicle,” started to hit and knee Batista-Concepcion, who clutched the steering wheel. A second cop arrived and grabbed and kicked Batista-Concepcion as they both pulled him from the car. On the ground, an officer kicked Batista-Concepcion twice as they forced cuffs on him. 

WARNING: The footage is disturbing to watch. 

YouTube video

“It sends a ton of messages at once: Comply or you will be beaten,” activist Kerwin Pittman told The News & Observer. “Look at his face. He was unconscious because he was accused of hitting some parked cars?”

The video footage from January 4 shows an officer chasing Riley, who was suspected of attempting to break into a car on Creech Road before trying to steal a city garbage truck. Instead, he stole a cell phone and fled on foot. 

An officer chased Riley—who was difficult to see in the footage—to a field. At a distance, you can see Riley extending his hands and facing the officer. A second officer arrived and fired four shots at Riley, who immediately dropped to the ground.

Officers rushed toward Riley and kneeled on top of him.  Riley yelled, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” as they placed cuffs on his wrists. 

None of the shots struck Riley, who was then taken into custody. 

Here’s the footage: 

YouTube video

Deck-Brown said that “both [incidents] could have been avoided if the individuals had complied and cooperated with any one of the multiple demands given by those officers.”

“We have two men of color between the ages of 18 and 22 involved in these two critical incidents. Let us begin to truly ask ourselves, in 2020, what is happening in our community that gets us to this place? That gets us to this type of encounter to begin with?” Deck-Brown said. “Let us stop for a moment. Let’s all of us stop for a moment to recognize that enough is enough.”

She continued: “Compliance and cooperation are so important during these types of encounters and high-risk situations put us all in harm’s way.”

In an emailed statement to the INDY Friday, Pittman said he was “even more appalled at these ‘trained’ law enforcement officers’ conduct.”

“To strike Mr. Batista-Concepcion eight times in the face and head, [the second officer on the scene] is highly unprofessional and disgusting,” Pittam said. “It is clear these officers need and must undergo de-escalation training as well as learn to foster better judgment of tactics when encountering the public, [regardless if a suspect complies initially or not] this don’t give them the right to beat him like he is not a human being.”

Pittman added that Batista-Concepcion had to return to the hospital Friday due to injuries sustained from the encounter.

Contact Raleigh news editor Leigh Tauss at ltauss@indyweek.com

Support independent local journalism. Join the INDY Press Club to help us keep fearless watchdog reporting 

2 replies on “Raleigh Police Release Video Footage of Cops Shooting at One Man, Beating Another”

  1. 100% resisting arrest. 100% feel like cop did the right thing. Guy started to try to drive off, refused to comply. Literally the ignorant little kids fault. It’s a shame the cops even need to go through this

Comments are closed.