Mayor Battle talks about HPD Mapco incident, citizens’ faith in police

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said the city is going through its processes in investigating an arrest where a Huntsville police officer was seen on video repeatedly stomping on a man’s leg.

“It’s a very serious thing,” Battle told News 19 three days after the incident. “We want the public to believe in our police. We want the public to believe in the city of Huntsville, that we’re doing things for the right reason, that we’re doing things right.”

Kemontae Hobbs, 22, was charged with resisting arrest and obstructing government operations after the incident at the Memorial Parkway Mapco around 6 p.m. Sunday. Police said a store employee called 911 to report Hobbs.

Video of the incident was broadcast on Facebook Live. The man who broadcast the video said a store clerk told him Hobbs was harassing women in the store. In the video, Hobbs is already on the ground with an officer sitting on top of him when another shows up and repeatedly stomps on his leg. Other officers also show up and help take Hobbs into custody.

Battle said the investigation into the stomping incident involves getting all video footage of the incident and talking to everyone involved before making a decision on the incident. News 19 asked for body camera video of the incident, but the city attorney’s office denied the request, saying the video is part of an active investigation and not subject to open records laws.

Battle said he wants the city to understand that the whole city is trying to get better every day.

Battle also spoke about the recent report from the Huntsville Police Citizens Advisory Council concerning the police department’s response to protests held last summer over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Battle said lots of things will happen as a result of that report.

“We’re looking at each and every one of the recommendations,” Battle said. “How does that make us better? What does it do to us? How does it fit in the guidelines we’ve already got? Do we need to rethink some of our guidelines? All those things work together for a better Huntsville, a better police department, a better public safety. And all those things work together to make sure we can provide better public safety out there.”

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