COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH) — A popular Columbus police officer has gone viral for the second time — but it’s not for his dancing skills.
Officer AJ Johnson, also known as the dancing cop, was recently seen on cell phone video pushing and hitting a man while on duty.
So many in the community saw this video and have concerns about racism and excessive police force. Others think the officer did the right thing.
The video has sparked outrage on social media. It has many people upset.
The man who was hit is having a hard time processing the incident. Jonathan Robinson, 25, says he was on the receiving end of that hard punch to his neck by Officer AJ Johnson.
“I’m glad to be alive,” he said.
His brother Derryle Sloan, 33, said “I’m still in shock after all what happened. It didn’t need to happen in the way it happened.”
The incident began Friday evening on Stanley Avenue. Jonathan Robinson’s brothers Derryle and Derrick say they heard what sounded like gunshots and brought the kids into the house.
Moments later, they say officers were at their door and ordered them to get out.
The brothers say they complied, and Jonathan’s wife — seen in the video holding two toddlers — got permission from police to get the other children from the home.
“She starts to come across the street [and] the officer with his hand on his trigger approaches her, and is trying to tell her what to do,” said Jonathan Robinson.
Robinson says he ran up and questioned the officer who stopped his wife, to see what was going on. Robinson says Officer Johnson approached him.
“The only reason why I looked his way is because he touched me,” Robinson said. “As soon as his hand was gone I put my direction back to the officer I was actually talking to. And the next thing I know I’m getting punched.
His brother Derryle Sloan said, “They knew they [were] coming to get the kids out the house; they knew that. They didn’t communicate with…other officers. All of that could have been avoided.”
A representative from the Columbus Division of Police wasn’t available for an on-camera interview, but they did release a statement on Facebook about the viral video:
“Chief Tom Quinlan has reviewed the officer’s body video and while uses of force can appear shocking…the officer on preliminary review was protecting bystanders during a call for service where guns were fired. Full investigation to follow. Be patient. We will release the (body worn camera) video Monday.”
Officer Johnson is a Black police officer who is a native of East Columbus.
Through motivational speeches and dancing, he has gained national exposure for going back to the inner city to encourage Black kids to do the right thing and stay in school.
More information about this case is expected to be released soon. Channel Four’s Rob Sneed called Officer Johnson to request an interview, and he left a voicemail, but he hasn’t heard back.