Valley resident David Chatwood is a stand-up comedian but what apparently happened to him on April 20 is no laughing matter.
Chatwood, 35, claims that he is a Black man who was being “racially profiled in Phoenix” by the police after trying to be a Good Samaritan.
Chatwood captured his encounter with law enforcement on video with his mobile phone and reached out to PhxSoul.com days later to share his story.
Video: David Chatwood Detained by Law Enforcement on Loop 202
Please excuse the profanity on the video
David Chatwood Tells His Story
This is David Chatwood’s account of what happened on April 20 – all his words …
“I was driving home on April 20 – close to midnight. I was driving east on the 202 when I saw an accident on the side of the highway. I decided to stop and make sure they were okay. There were three cars in different places. I parked a little bit down the road so my car wouldn’t cause any issues. I walked up and asked the drivers of the vehicles if they were okay. There was a girl that did not roll her window down, but she said she was fine. And another white guy who I asked if he needed help pushing the car to the side, he said no. After that I started walking back to my car and I started the video at 11:59 PM. That is the beginning of the video where I say, “Happy 420” at the end. After I stopped the video I kept walking towards my car and noticed a helicopter really seemed to be shining its light on me. And that’s when I turned my camera back on and I say into the camera basically ‘it looks like they’re are looking at me now.’ I’m walking slowly back to my car where three Hispanic men were waiting by their car. They were the first people I asked if they were okay. So when I got to them I said, ‘You guys know I was just stopping to make sure you were okay?’ They nod yes as I’m still walking. Then an officer comes running out of nowhere and slams me to the ground. He doesn’t ask any questions before tackling me to the ground. And when I asked why they tackled me, they said it was because I was walking. I literally had no reason to be standing on the side of the highway. They cuffed me and detained me, saying they had to make sure my story was true. After 20 minutes standing in cuffs, they let me go. All witnesses agreed that I stopped to help them. This all happened because I stopped to help victims of a car crash. The main reason I want this showed is because I have gotten a lot of responses. Most people seem to think “that’s what I get for stopping” as if it’s a bad thing that I stopped. We cannot let outside forces change who we are, where we stop helping people because of racial profiling. The funny thing about the video is when I dropped the camera it fell perfectly to get the officer’s face. I am waiting on the response from a lawyer to see if this is something I should go to court for. We get took advantage of so much, I’m not sure when a lawsuit is in order.”
PhxSoul: Were you physically injured due to this incident with police?
DC: “I only have a few scrapes and bruises from the fall.”
PhxSoul: Who detained you? Phoenix police? Department of Public Safety?
DC: “Phoenix Police.”
PhxSoul: How would you have handled this situation if you were a law enforcement officer who encountered David Chatwood on the highway after a car collision late at night?
DC: “Well since I was walking, I (as the police officer) would have just yelled, ‘Hey can I talk to you for a minute?’ I (as David Chatwood) would have stopped to talk to them. Usually that’s what they do when they have a question. They actually question you.”
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Considering what has happened to Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile and numerous other African Americans across the nation, it’s understandable why Chatwood is emotional about his run-in with law enforcement.
PhxSoul.com family … please use our Comments box to share your thoughts!
- Were officers justified or excessive by pulling Chatwood to the ground to detain him?
- Does Chatwood share any blame for putting himself in that situation?
- Does this video affect your willingness to be a Good Samaritan if you see others in need of help?
- Does Chatwood have valid cause for a lawsuit against police?
Updates to this story are pending. We will certainly seek a response from local law enforcement.