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Fight between off-duty Charleston officer and cyclist caught on tape
By Lara Rolo Friday, May 13th 2016
Surveillance video from College of Charleston shows the altercation between off-duty Charleston Police Officer Kevin Medert and cyclist Brandon Freeman.
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — A verbal and physical altercation caught on camera. New video from the College of Charleston shows an off-duty police officer trying to wrestle a cyclist to the ground after what appears to be a minor collision on George and St. Philip streets. It happened April 18.
"Clearly the red car is accelerating on St. Philip Street from a stoplight, I believe, way too fast," said Peter Wilborn, the founder of Bike Law.
He viewed the video for the first time Friday afternoon.
"Officers just lose their temper," he said in reaction. "We don't pay police officers to lose their temper."
Brandon Freeman says he was attacked by the officer after riding his bike against traffic on St. Philips, a one way street.
"This car speeded off," Freeman said. "He speeded off. So I'm like, 'Wow. Does he see me?'"
The bike and car make contact and the two share words. Freeman then attempts to leave when Officer Kevin Medert exits his personal car and grabs Freeman from behind.
"The off-duty officer takes a relatively minor occurrence and blows it dramatically out of proportion," Wilborn said.
The video shows Freeman try to escape the situation several times, attempting to mount his bike. The officer doesn't let him.
Another tug at the shoulder and Freeman takes a swing.
"When I hit him he said, 'Well, you f***ed up. You just assaulted an officer,'" Freeman said.
Just 20 seconds later, Medert grabs Freeman at the waist and tries to throw him to the ground. He's overpowered by thy cyclist and the two crash to the pavement.
"That's asphalt," Wilborn said. "When you bring someone to the ground like that, you bring them down very, very hard. It was totally unnecessary."
Freeman said the incident was unfortunate. He said it likely could have been avoided.
"He could have switched lanes. He could have slowed down and let me get by. Let me get on the sidewalk," Freeman said.
"The situation got out of control," Wilborn said. "It was a bad situation and from what I've seen there's really only one person to blame for that and that's really the off duty police officer."
Officer Medert is on unpaid administrative leave until SLED finishes its investigation. The city of Charleston is also investigating.
ABC News 4 has requested but not yet received body camera footage following the incident.