A Maryland police officer who responded to a report of a physical altercation and ended up recording one of the men involved in the fight after realizing he was troubled ex-NBA player, Delonte West, has been suspended, according to the police department.
West, 36, who played for the Boston Celtics, Seattle SuperSonics, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Dallas Mavericks revealed he was suffering from bipolar disorder in 2008. This was after roughing up a referee during a pre-season match.
According to the police statement, the Prince George’s County Police Department responded to a call of a physical altercation between two men at Oxon Hill.
“When officers arrived on the scene, the two men were already separated and no longer involved in a physical altercation,” the statement read. “Officers observed that one of the men was bleeding from his face and made the decision to handcuff the second male while the patrol officers began their on-scene investigation.”
Both West and the other male, who reportedly knew each other refused to press charges against each other as well as receive medical attention.
In the aftermath of the incident, two videos were circulated on social media with one of them showing West shirtless and in handcuffs while being questioned about what happened. During the recording, West claims he was approached by the other man with gun. He then goes on to yell expletives when he is further questioned.
The video in question, was shot by one of the officers who responded to the scene, the department revealed.
“We learned the video that is currently on social media depicting the male in handcuffs was recorded by a Prince George’s County Police officer,” the department said. “The circumstances surrounding the recording and release of that video are now the subject of an internal investigation. That officer is now suspended pending the outcome of this investigation.”
Addressing a news conference on Tuesday, Prince George’s County police Chief Hank Stawinski said: “It’s irresponsible for (the video) taken by a Prince George’s County police officer to be in the public’s hands. In my view, I own that, this department owns that.”
Several people, including former teammates and coaches have publicly shown support to West and offered support after the troubling video went viral.