Huntsville Police Respond to Brutality Claims in Videotaped Arrest at First Baptist Church

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Huntsville Police arrested a man and charged him with resisting arrest and criminal trespassing following reports of disruptive conduct during a church service at First Baptist Church on Governors Drive this past Sunday morning.

Joshua Chukwuedozie Ude, 23, was arrested following a report of suspicious behavior at First Baptist Church.  According to witnesses, Ude and two male companions entered the church during the 10:30 a.m. service and began recording video of the pastor and congregation.  One man remained in a hallway while Ude and another man walked to the front row and began recording, according to police.

A statement issued by First Baptist Church said the three men were seen taking photographs outside the church of the mosaic on the front of the building. One man entered the building and was welcomed by ushers, but declined to join the service already in progress.  Approximately 40 minutes into the service, two of the three men sat on the front row and appeared to video and/or photograph the service.

First Baptist Church said at no time were the two men asked to leave the building.  According to the statement, they remained in the service for approximately 10 minutes, then left.  The third man remained in the hallway, speaking to an usher while the others were in the service.


The three men left the church building of their own accord before the service concluded, according to both police and First Baptist Church.  Off-duty police officers approached the three men as they left the building to ask about their activities inside.  According to police, Ude became uncooperative, refused to leave, and was arrested.

Within 30 minutes of Ude's arrest, Ude's two companions, who recorded the arrest, posted a video of it to YouTube with claims of police brutality.  The video posted to YouTube does not show any events leading up to Ude's arrest.  In the recording, one of Ude's companions told the officers that Ude was recording for an independent film.

"Initial review of the posted videotapes indicate the officers used appropriate techniques under the circumstances," said Huntsville Police Chief Lewis Morris.  "However, I have instructed our Internal Affairs division to investigate any alleged use of excessive force during the arrest of Mr. Ude."

Watch Part 1 of the video uploaded to YouTube by Ude's companions here.  Please note it does not show any of the events leading to Ude's arrest.  Additionally, there is some adult language that may be considered offensive and may not be suitable for younger viewers.

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4


  • Al

    His PARENTS are to blame for NOT teaching their son to OBEY when a Police officer orders you to do something! We have Police Officers to enforce the laws of society on behalf of its citizens. If more of the young adults showed respect for police and obeyed their orders, we would have a better place to live!

    • d

      you can’t completely blame his parents, you don’t know what they taught him. the blame rests on his shoulders for the decisions he made. i can say from personal experience he is the one that made these decisions

    • Alyssa

      While I do not think there was brutality here from what I saw on the video, my biggest question is this…
      Why was he arrested in the first place? An off duty police officer has no authority to make someone leave private property if the “owner” of said property did not ask them too. The church said in a statement that they did not ask the men to leave. The off duty police officer had a right to question why they were there and what they were doing as any person would. Although unless these men were breaking some law, they did not have to answer those questions.
      I fully support law officers but also know from personal experience that some officers of the law do not follow those laws when dealing with all citizens.
      I was detained by one such officer and when I asked what law I had broken or violated he then told me to shut up or he would throw me in jail and think of a charge later. I have never broken any law except speeding and have only had one ticket in my over 20 years of driving. Since that incident I now carry some type of recording device with me at all times.
      With that said I do think these men were looking to cause a disruption and are drama makers.

  • Carvel


    • Adin Owens

      that’s like saying you can’t judge the actions of a pedophile, which yes, I think society can do just that! Yes, we can judge the actions of officers, such as the murder of the 7yo girl by swat, shall I go on? I can go on FOREVER on the criminal crimes, murder, rape of children, rape of woman that the US police have committed on it’s citizens, go run along little sheep.

    • Branko Pezdi

      Eh? These hoods would have (and should have) been treated exactly the same way in any other state. Frankly, they need to go to Russia and behave there like the punks they are there; they would immediately learn a valuable and long overdue lesson in civil behavior.

      • Brandon white

        These “hoods” are members of the boys and girls society. Did one act incorrectly? yes. Does that make him a hood? No. Don’t asses something by a partial viewing of a situation. And I don’t know a lot of “hoods” that are respiratory therapists. I mean come on maybe your the one under a “hood”.

  • G Perez

    I’m missing something. Did these young men ever explain what exactly they were doing there, taking pictures of the outside and only going in for a short time? I do suspect that the timing of the video is calculated to skew public opinion because I would like to know what the officers said to them at the beginning and how they reacted to the officers that would cause them to react this way. Manipulation of information for any reason, just or unjust is dishonest. Sorry guy, but I have to give you a “FAIL” on the argument of brutality, racial discrimination. The only thing you have succeeding in doing is casting doubt on your intentions.

  • wesley

    In this day and age , how did the parish know they were not planning to attack or harm them in some way ? There are way to many radical loonies walking the streets these days. they could just as easily walked in with a gun as they did a camera . I,m sure everyone was uneasy about the situation , strangers acting in such a peculiar manner. And I to agree they probably only did it to incite some type of racial problem for their benefit. It pays to error on the cautious side with so many crazies shooting up places at random.

  • Pierce

    I agree to the lines that this is stupid. There is publicity on this simply because that’s what it was made to create. I feel for the officers for having to answer questions about this (even in house, to their bosses), because unless there is evidence that this was unjustified being left out somewhere else, this is a huge waste of time and energy to our police forces who could be elsewhere dealing with real issues

  • marvin

    Did the church have a “Welcome” sign out front? KIlls the trespassing charge. Didn’t loos like resisting arrest to me.

  • jonathan Morris

    This is the problem with the United States of America today,I have in the past been arrested for marijuana possession,and Dui.I still knew that when the police asked me to do something,I did it,or was expecting them to use force.I do have enough respect for other peoples rights and religions ,not to be disruptive during a service and was taught the right way to act in a public setting.I ,and was wrong in my lawbreaking ways ,and at least had enough sense to know that when I was caught breaking the law that it was my fault,not the police officers for doing his public duty.May God help these guys see the error of their ways and lead them to the truth as He has me.God Bless America ,and great job HPD(never thought I would ever here myself saying those words,but God has a way of changing people if they will put their faith and hope in Him)

  • megamillions

    the men are going to lose that claim about police brutality. If the men were smart they will file a law suit for racial profiling or discrimination. For example in the fourth video the black police officer were heard saying: “Dressed just like that, that you need permission to enter a church, you want to blend in”. From this statement we can clearly see that the men was profiled. The men was never asked to leave the church by the pastor for their “criminal trespassing and disruptive conduct”. (read the church statement). The Young men need to file a profiling lawsuit fast.


    I have viewed some of the other YouTube videos posted by the gentleman. It is obvious he likes to create controversy and incite problems. The Huntsville Police should be applauded for their professionalism and restraint in the face of abject belligerence and lack of cooperation. Regardless if one has respect for the police, if one agrees or disagrees, or what one’s opinion is of law enforcement in general, when a police officer tells you to do something, one should comply without argument. It will never go well otherwise.

    The other thing this young man needs to understand is that a church is private property. Based on what I have read, seen, and heard, those involved had no legitimate reason to be there or act they way they did. Their presence and behavior caused some concerns, thus compelling someone to call the police. The church invited them in to fellowship, but they chose to behave otherwise. It had nothing to do with race, religion, or manner of dress. If someone (or a group) were to come onto my property acting in an obviously suspicious manner, they would not be welcome and would be asked to leave.

    We have more important things with which to concern ourselves than a group of troublemakers trying to incite a problem or force their agenda on others.

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