Disturbing video of former NBA star Delonte West has prompted the suspension of a Maryland police officer.
The clip is one of two videos that surfaced online this week showing a frail, shirtless Delonte West being questioned as he sits handcuffed on the curb. An investigation by Prince George’s County Police determined the footage was taken by one of its officers and posted to social media, where it’s since gone viral.
On Tuesday, the department announced the officer in question had been suspended.
County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said he was “troubled” by the video and even more bothered that one of his own was behind it.
“It’s irresponsible for that (video) taken by a Prince George’s County police officer to be in the public’s hands,” especially when individuals are identified, Stawinski told reporters Tuesday.
A second video posted online showed a man, later confirmed as West, 36, being pummeled in the middle of the street.
In a press release, police said they responded to reports of a fight in Oxon Hill around 9:45 a.m. Monday. The men were already separated by the time authorities arrived, and an officer observed that one of them was bleeding from the face. That’s when police “made the decision” to detain West.
“Man I’m walking down the street, man approach me with a (inaudible), a gun,” the former basketball player explains in a video shot by police. “I don’t give a f–k! I don’t give a f–k!”
West and the other man, who’s unnamed, reportedly knew each other and had gotten into an argument earlier that day, authorities said. Both refused medical attention and declined to press charges against each other in the incident.
No weapons were recovered at the scene.
West, who played in the NBA from 2004 to 2014, including for the Boston Celtics, Seattle SuperSonics and Cleveland Cavaliers, has endured some personal struggles since his career ended. The former Dallas Mavericks guard was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2008, and has been involved in a number of troubling incidents over the years. In 2016, West was spotted shoeless and wandering in the parking lot of a Houston-area Jack in the Box, sparking concerns for his mental health.
In the wake of the latest videos, the NBA reportedly has offered to help West and his family, as have fans and former teammates.
“I’m sick today [sic] my stomach right now seeing videos of Delonte,” college teammate Jameer Nelson wrote on Twitter. “To answer everybody that’s reaching out to me about this situation … all we can do is pray for him and his family and hope that he seeks the proper help.”
“I’m not exactly sure what’s going on with DWest,” Nelson added. “But he knows I’m in his corner and will help him get through this.”
Watch more in the video below.