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City of Hoover responds after Birmingham chaplain calls protest arrest ‘unwarranted'

Updated: Jul. 28, 2020 at 5:19 AM CDT
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HOOVER, Ala. (WBRC) - The City of Hoover responded to the dramatic video of a local chaplain being arrested in Hoover during a Black Lives Matter protest.

Two days after the encounter, Chaplain David Deter said he had yet to bring himself to watch the cellphone video captured by other protesters.

On Saturday, Deter and a couple dozen protesters met at City Hall in Hoover for a BLM demonstration. Deter said while there, counter-protesters supporting police and President Trump showed up with flags and posters.

The groups soon clashed.

Deter claims the counter-protesters stood on a wall which elevated them above his group. Deter said he asked officers with the Hoover Police Department if he could stand on the wall but says he was told “no.”

“You need to have them step down because you’re knowingly elevating their voice - the counter-protesters voice - over the voice of the protesters I was there with,” said Deter.

Deter claimed one of the counter-protester insulted his son which in anger he responded. That’s when Deter said police began to arrest him.

“I was just surrounded by policemen taking me down. There was a policeman that made a statement. He put his knee upon my neck. And I know, in my heart, in my body, everything felt he knew he could kill me,” said Deter.

The video given to WBRC by B’ham Stand shows a Hoover officer and protesters tugging at Deter. The officer appears to put his forearm on the back of Deter’s neck to restrain him.

Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato said Hoover police do their best to diffuse the situations with protest.

“We have had protests probably once a week in the city and we do everything in our power to protect our protesters and their right to protest,” the mayor said. “And we’ve said all along they have that right and we are going to make sure we protect them.

“Certainly, there have been some arrests, but those have been after multiple warnings, doing everything we can to not have to arrest someone.

“Our police officers who do a wonderful job at handling these very difficult situations, they do a great job. When folks break the law we are going to step in. There has to be law and order in our city, it’s so important.”

Hoover Police sent WBRC the following statement:

“On July 25th, Hoover Police Officers were present as a group of protesters and counter-protesters gathered in front of Hoover City Hall. In an effort to keep the groups separated, each group was given a designated area in which to conduct their respective protests. During the protests, a member of one of the groups got into a verbal altercation with a member of the opposing group and began moving toward a barricade separating the protesters. An officer grabbed his arm and told him to step away from the barricade. Other members of his group began pulling on officers as they were trying to get the man to move away from the barricade. The man, identified as David Deter, continued to escalate the argument with the other protester and officers attempted to arrest him for disorderly conduct. He began resisting arrest and he and other members of his group attempted to free him from officers as they were taking him into custody. This is clearly [sic] visible in the video of the arrest that you provided. The actions of Deter and other protesters placed himself, our officers, and others in danger.”

Deter was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Deter said he planned to fight the charges and called for the officer who arrested him to be terminated.

The officer has not been identified.

Deter also requested the Hoover Police Department release the bodycam video in the 2018 Riverchase Galleria Mall shooting of Emantic "EJ" Bradford Jr.

“Because I believe so strongly that Black Lives Matter,” he said. “That’s what gets me out there. That’s on [sic] the forefront of my mind every day.”

We asked Hoover PD for the body camera video from Deter’s arrest we did not receive it by the time this article was written.

Since May 2020, 168 arrests related to protest activity have been made in Hoover, according to a spokesperson. HPD said several of these arrests are people who have been arrested multiple times, including two people who have been arrested each on seven different occasions.

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