‘He f-- tackled me:’ Body cam shows Savannah police response to St. Pat’s river swim
A police report and body camera footage may answer questions raised after a video from Savannah's St. Patrick's Day celebration showed a man jumping into the river and then being shocked with a Taser by police officers.
In the original video from a bystander, who shared it on Facebook, a man can be seen running shirtless toward the Savannah River in the area near River Street and Lincoln Street around 4:30 p.m. March 17. The crowd, which had gathered after the city's St. Patrick's Day parade, had encouraged the man to jump into the river, according to the video.
That man was identified in a report from the Savannah Police Department as Weston James Patrie, 22, of Marietta, Ga.,
The police report says Patrie was ordered to swim toward two officers, who pulled him out of the river and onto the algae-covered, slippery stairs.
Because it was low tide, the jagged rocks on the riverbed were exposed, the report says.
After Patrie was pulled from the river, "I told him he was under arrest, and he began to actively resist by running up the stairs," one of the officers writes.
Patrie, who was wet and slipperly, according to the report, allegedly ignored the officer's commands to put his hands behind his back and began kicking the officer in the knee.
That is when officers first shocked Patrie with a Taser and got the handcuffs on his right wrist, according to the report.
At this point, according to the police report, Luke Raymond Patrie, 19, also Marietta, Ga., — Weston Patrie's younger brother — is accused of jumping a fence at the top of the stairs and knocking another officer down the stairs.
"He tackled me," the officer's body camera records the officer saying.
As the younger man got to his feet, he can be seen on the officer's body camera reaching into his own pants pocket, and the officer pulled out his gun.
Luke Patrie can be seen in the video discarding the contents of his pocket and falling to the ground. As he is placed in handcuffs, he is heard repeatedly saying, "Stop tasing him. ... He has a bad heart."
Weston Patrie was shocked with a Taser two more times as he continued to kick and swing his arms before he was put in handcuffs, the police report says.
The brothers were taken from the River Street area by boat because of the large, raucous crowd, according to the report.
Weston Patrie was brought to Memorial Health University Medical Center so the Taser prongs in his back could be removed.
The brothers then were booked at the Chatham County Detention Center. They were released on bond five days later.
Both face two misdemeanor charges — swimming prohibited in certain waters and reckless conduct — plus a felony of willful obstruction of law enforcement officers by use of threats or violence, according to the arrest log of the Chatham County Sheriff's Office. Luke Patrie also faces a charge of removal of weapon from a public official, which also is a felony.
There was no indication in either video that Luke Patrie swam in the river.
The officer who wrote the police report included his injuries related to the arrest: A sprained ankle, a sprained shoulder and a contusion on his knee where he was repeatedly kicked.
Savannah has a city ordinance that makes swimming in the river illegal.
"We are looking forward to our day in court," said Savannah attorney Boone Phillips, who is representing both brothers.