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April 2, 2011
Birmingham, Alabama -- a city with a long history of racial strife -- has been shaken by the release this week of a video recording showing a group of white police officers hitting an African-American man accused of attempting to steal a car. Travarious Daniel, 29, was arrested outside a nightclub in downtown Birmingham shortly after 1 a.m. on March 20. Video of the arrest shows Daniel, his hands raised in the air, briefly staggering down a sidewalk before being tackled and struck multiple times in the back of the head. A photo published by the Birmingham News shows Daniel with a bandage over a swollen eye after his arrest. Two officers have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the result of an internal investigation, according to an attorney for the local Fraternal Order of Police.
Calls to the Birmingham's police department were not immediately returned Friday.
Daniel (pictured left) has been charged with unlawful breaking and entering of a vehicle and receiving stolen property. But it is the allegation of police brutality that is drawing attention. Daniel's attorney said the video, which he released to the media, came from the nightclub's security camera. Daniel works at the club and obtained the video. "A group of white policemen and my client is a black victim. Do the math," said Daniel's attorney. "It's very sad that this is being cast as a racial matter," the polices' attorney replied. "The police department is color-blind (she's kidding). This is not a racial matter. Not at all."