Attorneys question DC cops’ side of the story after video surfaced showing officer punching man

Attorneys for a man seen being beaten by a D.C. police officer in a video that went viral earlier this week held a press conference Friday afternoon.  

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Kiman Johnson’s attorneys say the assault by the officer fractured bones in Johnson’s face and that he may need to surgery. They added Johnson returned to the hospital Thursday night after suffering from severe headaches where he spent the night and was released on Friday.

The viral video shows a D.C. police officer punching Johnson several times in the face. It happened in southeast on Sunday. The police department says Johnson was being arrested for conducting a drug deal. He was charged with illegal firearm possession, assault on a police officer while armed and resisting arrest. Law enforcement dropped the charges after the video went viral. On Friday, Johnson’s attorneys denied a drug deal happened.

"This from beginning to end was an arrest that was full of fallacy. I know that people have questions but at the end of the day, we stand on the fact that all of these charges were thrown out. There was a drug deal happening," Bakari Sellers, Johnson’s Civil Rights Attorney said.

READ MORE: DC Mayor says suspect struck by cop in viral video should have been charged

FOX 5 reached out to D.C. police for a response to Sellers’ denial of the drug deal but did not immediately receive a response.

MPD says Johnson was in possession of a ghost gun but his attorneys would not say if the illegal firearm he possessed was a ghost gun. They added however, that they understand why he would carry a gun despite it being illegal in the district.

"I actually understand the plight of that community," Sellers said. "They don’t want violence. They don’t want guns in their community. I also understand what it means to be a 23 year old black man who just graduated from college. We’re not talking about somebody who’s a member of the Bloods or Crips or Gangster Disciples. We’re talking about somebody who’s a member of an alumni association. Who has an accounting degree. Who’s coming home and does not have opportunity. So yeah, we can have a conversation about getting guns off the street but we can also make sure that black folk in D.C., not only in D.C. but in urban areas across the country have opportunities. Now if you’re going to talk about a ghost gun, I need more evidence that it was a ghost gun other than what law enforcement says," Sellers added.

Johnson’s aunt, twin sister and cousin also attended the press conference. They said he just graduated from college and officers had no reason to arrest the 23-year-old.

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"I know what y’all are thinking. You all are looking at him thinking, ‘Black guy. He was found with this he was found with that. For whatever reason they approached him.’ There was no reason to approach this man on that day for any reason and in doing so they violated him totally and because of that he’s been suffering," Johnson’s twin Kimani Johnson said.

His attorneys say regardless of why police arrested him, he should not have been assaulted

"We all understand how this could have gone in another direction and so we’re grateful that he’s alive but who else has this happened to? How many times has this happened to someone and these officers have gone on about their day to day lives without any questions asked," Chance Lynch, Johnson’s Civil Rights Attorney said.

The officers involved in the arrested were taken off patrol pending an internal and criminal investigation. Both Chief Robert Contee and Mayor Muriel Bowser condemned the incident.

Johnson’s attorneys say they’re seeking "all reasonable compensation" but added they have not yet filed a lawsuit and will only do so if necessary.