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

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.

READ THE FULL STATEMENT FROM FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH HERE.

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

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