As captions on the social media posts, Burrell explains:
“Mclaughlin grabbed me, smashed my face against the wall and then swung my body, knocking my head into a wooden pillar causing a concussion. He put handcuffs on my wrists so tight they broke the skin and caused my fingers to go numb.”
Prior to the alleged assault, the video includes the following dialogue between Burrell and McLaughlin, which is excerpted below.
McLaughlin, upon seeing Burrell on his porch tells him to “Get back!”
“No,” Burrell says.
“Nope,” Burrell says from behind the camera.
McLaughlin tells Burrell’s cousin (who is still in the driveway with his hands up) to “keep your hands where I can see them,” and approaches the porch, where Burrell is filming.
“You’re interfering with me, my man?” McLaughlin says, sounding entirely hyped up on a power trip.
Then he continues with: “Stop resisting.”
With incredible calmness, Burrell says, “I’m not resisting you. Put me on the ground.”
“If you keep fighting, I will,” says McLaughlin.
“I’m not fighting,” Burrell says in a tone which suggests that he is, in fact, not fighting.
“Stop fighting and get on the ground,” McLaughlin says before the video picture cuts out. It’s not entirely known why it cuts off, but it sounds like the recording device hit the ground.
His civil rights attorney, John Burris, says the officer’s force was “unnecessary and unreasonable.” Which from the video footage and Burrell’s explanation, seems to put it pretty diplomatically.
What happened to Burrell after the filming stopped? He alleges that McLaughlin put him into the patrol car, where Burrell clarified that he has no criminal record, is not on probation, and is, in fact, a veteran.
McLaughlin reportedly told him, “Oh you’re a vet? You sure weren’t acting like one.” Then McLaughlin reportedly told the veteran that he’d let him go because he was a veteran and let him out of the car.
Burrell, who says his fingers still feel numb from the handcuffs, says he then went to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a concussion.
For the curious, why was McLaughlin in Burrell’s driveway to begin with? As Burrell explains in his social media posts, McLaughlin apparently pulled a gun on Burrell’s cousin because the man “looked like someone” he’d seen speeding earlier. So according to Burrell, the entire incident—which could have been deadly—escalated to this point because he thought he’d found a person he’d seen speeding.
And according to SF Gate, this incident is eerily similar to a disturbing incident in the officer’s past. The SF Gate found that back in 2014, McLaughlin was actually sued for a civil rights violation after he and a fellow officer pulled over a black man, held him at gunpoint, searched his car, and filed a false police report.
Surprising no one but disappointing everybody, it was determined that they pulled him over without cause to begin with.
The Vallejo police department is investigating this particular incident with Burrell. Will it finally be enough to hold a white man accountable? We can only hope.