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Green Bay Police investigate officer's use of force during arrest

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Photo: Video by nbc26.com

Green Bay Police investigate officer's use of force during arrest

By Deandra Corinthios. CREATED Apr 22, 2014

GREEN BAY, Wis, -- Video of a disturbance in downtown Green Bay is going viral. It has prompted Green Bay Police to investigate the officer's use of force.

It happened over the weekend on the 100 block of South Washington Street. The disturbance was right after the bars closed early Saturday morning. A witness shot the video with his cell phone.  It all started because of someone apparently carrying a drink out of a bar and into the street.

In the video you can hear people yelling profanities at the officers before one of the officers throws a man onto a squad car, then tackles him to the ground, punching him. We edited out the profanities in our video, and we want to be clear we don't know the details of what exactly led up to this disturbance.

The video published less than 24 hours ago on Youtube already has more than 20 thousand views. The officers involved are still on duty, but Green Bay Police are now investigating whether the use of force was appropriate.

"What was the reason for the initial contact, what occured during that contact, what occured while that contact was taking place. Did other people get involved or try and interject themselves into this incident," said Captain Bill Galvin with the Green Bay Police Department.

Police are reviewing squad car dashcam video, compiling a list of witnesses to interview, and are hoping to get their hands on more cell phone video shot by other witnesses. A witness who did not want to be identified says he believes the officer went too far.

"I believe a lot more force was used than necessary. I understand the kid may have been out of line," said the witness.

A total of three people were arrested or cited in this case. Police say a person can be arrested for disorderly conduct if their behavior encourages a crowd to be boisterous, or poses a danger to the public or police.

Green Bay Police policy is that officers are authorized to use one level of force higher than the force they encounter.

"The reason for that is so they can remain in control of the situation and they're not putting themselves in a position where they or the public could be hurt," said Capt. Galvin.

Police say it could take weeks for the investigation to be complete. A full report will be sent to the chief of police.

Police are asking any witnesses in this incident to come forward. If you have video of the incident, you're also asked to contact police.