Man allegedly victimized by police faces charges; more details released

The Williamsport man alleged to have been roughed up and detained by city police Sunday has been charged with several criminal counts.

A police affidavit related the incident, including the actions that led up to Saladin Basilkah Brown, 19, being detained by law enforcement officials Sunday in Williamsport.

Two officers were on duty in an unmarked police unit in the area of Kramer Court and Elmira Street when they observed a man talking on a phone exit a residence and walk west on the alley.

Officers reported that upon seeing police, the man, identified as Rahnell Cotton, looked away, stopped walking and quickly hung up the phone. He lingered outside the house and went back in.

Cotton has been identified as a member of the local “400 gang,” which witnesses tell police were involved in shootings throughout the city.

Cotton was kept under surveillance and later observed meeting up with another man in the 600 block of Locust Street, which police refer to as a “high narcotics trafficking area, and an area that 400 gang and their associates frequent,” according to the affidavit.

The two then disappeared behind a fence before reappearing and then splitting up.

Shortly thereafter, police detained and handcuffed Cotton on a suspicion of a drug transaction having taken place.

Police reported he offered no resistance.

It was at this point that Brown walked over to the police officer and Cotton.

When instructed to leave, Brown reportedly “was continuously yelling to Cotton, even when instructed not to do so,” according to the affidavit.

Brown reportedly disappeared and then reappeared and yelled to individuals down the street.

Police reported Brown had been issued repeated warnings to stop yelling because he had caused “numerous individuals to exit their residence on Locust Street.”

After Brown left the scene, police detained him near Park and Locust streets.

At this point, a police officer reported the following information: “I instructed Brown to place his hands on a nearby vehicle, as he was detained, and I was going to pat him down for weapons. Brown initially refused, stating that I had just recently patted him down and there was no need. I again instructed him to place his hands on the car. Brown then placed his hands on the car. I asked Brown to spread his feet and he would not comply, so I spread his feet by sweeping his foot. I then began to pat Brown down for weapons. During the course of my pat-down, Brown was looking back towards me and removed his hand from the car, when instructed not to do so. When I reached his groin area with the flat of my hand, he then screamed and attempted to pull away from me, as well as turn back towards me, facing me. I feared for the safety of residents in the area, my safety and the officers around me and that Brown may have a weapon concealed in this area, especially after he attempted to refuse a pat-down initially. I quickly lifted and took Brown to the ground, onto his back. Brown immediately gave up his hands, rolled over to his stomach …”

The affidavit further stated that numerous residents in the area screamed and several attempted to swarm officers after Brown was taken to the ground.

It was noted in the report that Brown’s actions caused a disturbance and obstructed police from “conducting anything even remotely close to an on-scene investigation of the suspected narcotics activity, which he believed we had observed.”

Brown is charged with riot, obstructing administration of law, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and criminal mischief.

In the past week, protests have been held in the city, alleging police misconduct. Videos shared on social media sites, including Facebook, reveal Brown being thrown to the ground and detained by police.

Brown’s mother, Tamika Moore, told the Sun-Gazette this week her son was suffering from pain and migraine headaches after having been body slammed by a police officer.