The man seen struggling with Folly Beach police officers on a controversial video insists the images are not what they seem.
Erik Torgusen became an unwitting YouTube star this week after a beachgoer videotaped police officers trying to handcuff him on the beach Sunday while a large crowd shouts questions and jeers. Torgusen, who was arrested for disorderly conduct, can be heard yelling “I am not resisting” while he appears to be doing just that.
The video, which had more than 6,000 views today, has drawn both condemnation and praise of island police. But Torgusen said the whole episode is just one big misunderstanding.
The Charleston-based bouncer, 31, denied he resisted arrest and maintained he did nothing wrong that day. He said he is seen squirming and thrashing about on tape because his eyes were on fire from pepper spray and he couldn’t breathe.
“It looks like I’m trying to resist but I’m not,” Torgusen said today, “I was in pain. I had pepper spray in my eyes. I had sand in my eyes, and I can’t see anything.”
Folly Beach Public Safety Director Dennis Brown did not return a call seeking comment. But he did release a report on the incident, one day after The Post and Courier informed him that his refusal to do so was in violation of the state’s Freedom of Information Act.
The report contained much of the same information Brown had provided Wednesday in a verbal account of the incident, explaining how police came to arrest Torgusen and a friend, 28-year-old Brett Ricker of Charleston. Ricker was also shot with a Taser stun gun after he reportedly became combative with a sheriff’s deputy while using a cell phone camera to videotape Torgusen’s arrest.
Read more in tomorrow’s Post and Courier.