Three D.C. police officers are under investigation after a video posted on social media showed police punching a man.
Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee said the department is aware of the video and the officers had their police powers revoked pending the outcome of criminal and administrative investigations. The officers also will not have contact with the public, the chief said at a press conference on Monday.
"I have watched this video. I am embarrassed, disturbed, disheartened and ashamed of what I've seen," he told reporters.
The video was filmed on Sunday after officers reported seeing a "hand-to-hand drug transaction," according to Contee. The officers stopped a man and found a firearm in the waistband of his pants during a pat-down, the chief said.
The footage shows three officers pinning the man against a fence. A fourth is standing nearby talking on the police radio.
The officers appear to struggle with the man and one of them punches him in the face. The officer hits the man numerous times in the face, the video shows.
A crowd that had gathered seemingly gets upset and throws items, including a garbage can, at the three officers. The fourth officer tries to keep the crowd back.
The video starts midway through the encounter, and it's unclear what happened beforehand.
The chief said that while it's important for officers to get illegal firearms off the streets, the video "is not the way we train our members."
Contee did not name the officers involved or the man who was punched. Authorities charged the man with possession of an unregistered firearm; carrying a pistol without a license; unlawful possession of ammunition; and assault on an officer while armed and resisting arrest, according to NBC Washington.
The U.S. Attorney's Office dropped all the charges and the case was dismissed, the news station reported. The office did not immediately return a request for comment on Tuesday.
The D.C. Police Union accused the man of resisting and said officers used a "minimal amount of force to subdue" a person who the police said had a firearm on him.
"Just this past week several officers nationwide have been killed in the line of duty. It is well known by police officers everywhere that criminals are not afraid to harm police," the union said in a press release. "The MPD officers in the video were doing everything within their legal authority to protect themselves, and the communities they patrol, from an armed, and potentially, violent offender."
The matter is being referred to the U.S. Attorney's Office for prosecutorial consideration, police said.