Erie Mayor Joe Sinnott and Erie Police Chief Randy Bowers wouldn’t give their thoughts on the surveillance video of the June 27 arrest of Montrice M. Bolden during a press conference at City Hall on Thursday.
They did say, however, that the Erie police started an internal investigation long before the Department of Justice opened a civil rights probe.
Bowers said he learned about the June 27 arrest of Bolden outside of TJ’s Traffic Jam, 760 E. 12 St., the next day and immediately reviewed the video to evaluate the treatment used by Erie police officers.
Bowers said an internal investigation, which is being conducted by Erie Police Inspector Matthew Fischer, was started about “a day or two” after the arrest.
Bowers would not comment on Thursday what members or how many officers are being investigated, but did say that they are not on leave.
Bowers said he met with Bolden’s mother and stepfather on June 29 to discuss the incident, and also met with Erie City Council members Sonya Arrington and Casimir Kwitowski.
Currently there are three investigations going on: a criminal investigation of the incident that will be in Erie County court, an internal investigation by the Erie police and the civil rights probe by the Department of Justice.
Bowers said he welcomes the investigation by the Department of Justice and will cooperate fully to make anything and all things available to the FBI.
Bishop Dwane Brock said he has been speaking about police issues for awhile.
“People are not making up all of these stories,” Brock said. “This is our home, Erie is small enough where we can come together to solve our issues, solve our problems.
There was a rally set at Perry Square by Erie clergy at 11:30 a.m Thursday and Bowers said he understands the need for such demonstrations.
“It’s important who you take advice from,” Bowers said. “Don’t fall for showoffs who will demonstrate for anything that is fashionable.”
Comments were made during Thursday’s press conference about Erie police using body cameras, and Bowers said while the department is not against the use of body cameras, there are “cost issues” and “storage issues” that go along with the equipment.
Bowers said on the night of the arrest, Bolden was taken directly to the hospital for treatment.
Bolden is facing charges of simple assault, aggravated assault, resisting arrest, disarming a law enforcement officer without lawful authorization, DUI and other drug related charges. Bolden is in the Erie County Prison on $100,000 bond and has a preliminary hearing set for Aug. 10.