During a brief hearing this morning, a judge granted a continuance for Erik Torgusen, whose arrest Sunday on Folly Beach was captured in a controversial YouTube video.
Torgusen, 31, of Charleston was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He made the appearance this morning at Folly Beach Municipal Court, saying the incident has “turned my life upside-down.”
Torgusen told a judge that he hasn't been able to get his life in order after the incident, in which he lost his cellphone and wallet.
The judge, Bentley Price, had previously represented Torgusen in a civil lawsuit years ago and recused himself from the case.
The “video posted on YouTube shows Torgusen struggling with a Folly Beach police officer as a crowd gathers and shouts. A Folly Beach Public Safety official said Cpl. Ryland Reed had responded to reports of men urinating in sinks and being unruly at The Tides hotel.
A police report said Torgusen uttered racially charged remarks to Reed, who is black, and aired threats such as “I will deal with you.” Torgusen, who is half black and half Brazilian, called the accusation unfounded.
Torgusen admits that he didn't readily hand over his identification when the officer investigated the initial complaint. But he claimed he was blinded by pepper spray used when Torgusen resisted the commands, causing him to writhe in pain. He said the video misleadingly shows that he is willingly and forcefully holding his arms in front of himself to prevent Reed from handcuffing him.
Despite various interpretations of the video, it has sparked debate as to whether Reed's actions were justified.
Torgusen's friend, 28-year-old Brett Ricker of Charleston, was standing nearby and filming the incident with a cellphone camera when a sheriff's deputy assisting Reed during the altercation said Ricker became combative. The deputy approaches him as the video goes dark. A Folly Beach officer later used a Taser to subdue Ricker, who shoved the deputy, sheriff's Maj. Jim Brady said.
The YouTube video was filmed by a different observer.
Ricker is due before a county magistrate judge at a later date.
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.
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