At a media briefing Thursday, Police Chief Wayne Scott revealed more details about an excessive force incident in June. This comes after the city released body camera footage showing a white officer physically assaulting a black man.

Scott says the treatment of Dejuan Yourse by former officer Travis Cole comes down to three questions: were the officers there legally? Yes – they were responding to a 911 call about a potential burglary in process. 

Did police have a legal authority to detain Yourse? Scott says police determined they were in their right to do so. But was Officer Cole's decision to try to seize Yourse's phone legal? Scott says no.  

“I have said repeatedly I don't believe it was. It doesn't fit into the philosophy of our department. I don't believe at the time he was presented with it, [that] it was an officer safety issue and I don't think it was a right decision and therefore everything thereafter became a cascading of bad decisions.”

The body camera footage showed former Officer Cole punching DeJuan Yourse and wrestling him to the ground.

Some community members who attended the briefing said they have more questions about the timeline of the investigation. They want to know why it took so long to release the video and why Officer Cole was not immediately put on administrative leave directly after the original complaint was filed.

“We want accountability by the police department. We're still upset because certain things were allowed and that's caused us great concern,” says Daran Mitchell, pastor at Trinity AME Zion Church.

Chief Scott says one reason why the internal process took so long was due to the fact it was the first administrative investigation for the corporal in charge of the matter. He says it is a complex case and his department conducted a thorough investigation.

Cole has since resigned from his post, along with a second officer involved in the incident.

This is not the first time that Cole's conduct has come into question. In 2014 the City of Greensboro paid a $50,000 settlement to the Scales brothers for treatment they received from Cole, issued a formal apology, and dismissed the charges against them.

Greensboro City Council members want a full revocation of Cole's law enforcement certification. City Manager Jim Westmoreland says he has sent a complaint letter on their behalf to the State Standards Office for Police Officers.

It asks for the agency to consider a hearing on the issue and suspend Cole's law enforcement certification indefinitely.

The Greensboro Police Department is working on plans to respond to complaints more quickly. Those include hiring additional staff to review and flag body cam videos that may raise concerns.

“It wouldn't compromise the integrity of the investigation because this person would not be one that's in the chain of command. I think we have an opportunity here to have someone outside the chain of command to review very quickly.”

Scott says a group will also look at other ways improve the investigative process.

“We are down to a 34-day average for all investigations. Seven years ago, we were over 100, so we've made technological advances and we are going to continue to do that. I know speed is important to the community,” he says.

Scott says every Greensboro police officer under the rank of lieutenant will wear body cameras by the end of the year.

*Follow WFDD's Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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