New video shows controversial arrest of young Black man in Burlington

Published: Feb. 8, 2021 at 4:21 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 8, 2021 at 5:47 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - New video has surfaced of Burlington police officers using a stun gun on a young Black man last month and arresting him.

Mbayayenge Mafuta, 19, was arrested on Jan. 7.

Burlington police say the teen resisted arrest and attacked the officers. They used a stun gun on him.

They say Ofcs. Oren Byrne and Meaghan O’Leary confronted Mafuta after reports he was trying to break into a car using a screwdriver. Police say Mafuta became confrontational and punched one officer and choked another.

One officer’s body camera was knocked off during the scuffle but it continued to record audio of the incident. The second officer did not have a body camera turned on, which is a violation of the department’s policy.

When the video was released, Acting Police Chief Jon Murad said the department’s use-of-force policy permits deploying a Taser in response to a subject committing an act of aggression, such as an attack on an officer consisting of strikes, kicks or punches.

The new video is from a witness and shows a different angle than that already-released bodycam video.

At the time, police told WCAX News that a citizen took cellphone video of the arrest unfolding and said it was the only other existing footage of this incident. This is a different video.

Murad said he saw it for the first time on Monday and he said it offers further evidence that his officers acted appropriately.

“That stop remains a legal reasonable suspicion stop. We still have an incident where officers did all they could to do so lawfully and effectively and in a way that didn’t ultimately result in a use of force. Had that individual stopped and cooperated with officers, that individual would have been issued a citation to appear in court that day and on his way,” Murad said.

The chief says the witness video will get added to the review that is happening with the mayor and the police commission.

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Burlington Police: Teen punched and choked two officers

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