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Pennsylvania state trooper put on "restricted duty status" after arrest of City Hall staffer, husband

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As investigations continue into what happened during the arrests of two people on the side of Interstate 76 over the weekend, Chris Bartlett is speaking out.

"We're taking a stand for them to say that what happened on Saturday was inappropriate," Bartlett said.

Bartlett, the executive director of the William Way LGBT Community Center, is calling for accountability after seeing a video posted on social media over the weekend depicting a portion of the incident.

A screenshot of cellphone video showing a person being handcuffed on the side of a highway
Screenshot from the social media video that depicts a portion of the arrest Latasha Morrison Sinclair

In the video, a person is seen on the ground getting handcuffed. That's Bartlett's co-worker and the center's chief operating officer, Darius McLean, he said. Celena Morrison – McLean's wife and the executive director of the Philadelphia Office of LGBT Affairs – is behind the camera.

On Saturday, Pennsylvania State Police sent over a report that does not list the names of those arrested. It says a trooper pulled over an Infiniti on 76 Westbound at mile marker 344.9 for "multiple vehicle code violations."

After the trooper pulled the Infiniti over, the report says, someone else pulled up behind the trooper, got out of their car and "became verbally combative." As the trooper tried to arrest that driver, the report states the person from the other car interfered. Both drivers were taken into custody on multiple charges.

Both have since been released. In a statement, the Philadelphia District Attorney's office said as of Sunday morning, it has "made no charging decision pending a thorough, even-handed investigation."

On Monday, Pennsylvania State Police declined CBS News Philadelphia's request for an interview. In an email exchange, a spokesperson did not confirm the identity of the trooper involved but said he would be on restricted duty status while an investigation into the incident is underway.

The spokesperson added the trooper was working alone at the time and said he was not wearing a body camera. 

"The body worn camera program is still being implemented by our agency. Troop K does not have BWCs yet," state police wrote.

For Bartlett, McLean is more than just a coworker; the COO and his wife are dear friends. 

"This was a tremendous trauma for both Celena and for Darius, but it's also a trauma for our entire community," Bartlett said.

The executive director pledges support and accountability as the investigations continue.

"They're going through it. That's why we're really standing up to make sure that they have everything that they need," Bartlett said.

Philadelphia City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier also finds the video troubling.  

"We know that within our city there's been a long history of mistrust between communities of color and police. I think this furthers that narrative, right?" Gauthier said in an interview.

Mayor Cherelle Parker's office did not provide any additional comment on the matter outside of a statement made on X, Saturday night in which she said the video is "very concerning."

"My hope is that we can change this dynamic. Especially at a time when we're dealing with various public safety crises including gun violence in our city," Gauthier said.

Mike Lee, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, shared this statement with CBS News Philadelphia: "The incident ... is just the latest example of a police interaction that escalated to a physical altercation. As study after study has shown, Black and brown people as well as trans and queer individuals are more likely to be stopped by police. The ACLU of Pennsylvania joins countless community leaders demanding the release of all body and dash cam footage for transparency and accountability. We also urge law enforcement to implement more de-escalation strategies when they encounter civilians for any reason."

Council Member Rue Landau posted a statement on social media that said, in part, "The footage is alarming. As we wait for more information about the incident, my office and I will continue to stay in touch with the Parker administration, the state and other city officials to ensure transparency and to investigate further." 

Darrin W. Anderson, President and CEO of the Urban League of Philadelphia, shared this comment: "While we echo Mayor Parker's sentiments that the video is very concerning, the Urban League of Philadelphia will not be issuing a statement at this time."

A spokesperson with the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association shared this statement: "The PSTA is aware of Saturday's incident in Philadelphia on Interstate 76. This morning, and every day, Pennsylvania state troopers go to work prepared to lay down their lives for their fellow citizens. As our Call of Honor states, these brave men and women do not swerve from the path of duty. The PSTA will not have any further comment during this investigation." 

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