SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Body camera footage from officers arresting two gentlemen on St. Patrick's Day explains why officers repeatedly tased a young man for jumping into the Savannah River near River Street and Lincoln Street.
Video from bystanders that went viral on social media outlets show Weston James Patrie, 22, of Marietta, Ga. running shirtless toward the Savannah River just after 4:00 pm on March 17. The audio of the video demonstrates the crowd encouraging Patrie to jump in the river.
In a police report filed by Savannah Police officer Tyler Suchoski, he says he gave verbal commands to Patrie to exit the river and swim towards the officers. He then writes, 'He ran away and attempted to swim away so he would not be arrested.'
The officer explains once Patrie made contact with the officers, he resisted arrest causing a 'very dangerous situation' due to the slippery conditions of the stairs and exposed 'large jagged rocks.' According to the report, Patrie then began kicking the officer in the knee. That is when officers shocked Patrie with a taser and handcuffed his right wrist.
While the officer explains he was unable to gain control of Patrie's left wrist, he saw a gentleman jump the fence and tackle another officer. The man was identified as Luke Raymond Patrie, 19 - Weston Patrie's younger brother.
The body camera footage depicts the second officer saying, 'He tackled me.' The video shows the brother reaching into his pocket, forcing the second officer to pull out his gun. As the younger brother surrendered, the video shows him dropping to the ground, placed in handcuffs, and yelling, 'Stop tasing him. He has a bad heart.'
The police report says Patrie 'was continuing to kick me and violently swing his arms around,' and then proceeds to say Patrie was tased two more times.
Weston Patrie was transported to Memorial Health University Medical Center to remove the taser prongs in his back. Both brothers were booked into the Chatham County Detention Center. Both face two misdemeanor charges, swimming prohibited in certain waters and reckless conduct, plus a felony of willful obstruction of law enforcement officers by use of threats or violence. The younger brother, who defended Patrie, also faces a felony charge of removal of a weapon from a public official.
In the report, the officer writes that he visited an Urgent Care the following day. His injuries included a sprained left ankle, sprained left shoulder, and a contusion on his right knee where he was repeatedly kicked. He wrote, 'My duty pants has a large amount of blood in the right knee area from where I was fighting with Mr. Patrie.'
Savannah criminal defense lawyer Boone Phillips will be representing the two brothers moving forward. He declined any comment at the time.