WEST PALM BEACH — West Palm Beach Police Officer Kevin Harrell, who is in a trending video where pulls a woman by the hair and slams her into the ground outside a downtown restaurant, is not a stranger to controversy.
Of course, the cheap labor that the local corporate media are hiring these days wouldn’t know this because they came to town, like, last week, but Harrell was among the city’s infamous “steroid cops,” a group of police officers who allegedly used steroids so that they’d get more muscles, and respect, on the streets.
The scandal blew up in the wake of the alleged leadership of then-West Palm Beach Police Chief Ric Bradshaw.
You heard of him, too: He did such a sterling job hiring overly-muscled policemen for the city that voters thought it’d be a good idea to elect him Palm Beach County Sheriff.
Shortly after Bradshaw was elected for the first time in 2004, it became clear a high number of officers were illegally using the same types of steroids used by baseball and football players to enhance athletic performance, some of them for years.
Not only were the police officers’ drugs not prescribed properly — cops doing illegal things, we wouldn’t know much about that in these parts — but the side effects of steroids are said to include mood swings and episodes of rage that could’ve created dangerous situations for suspects or members of the public.
Harrell was among 13 officers disciplined after their names popped up in the federal raid of a Deerfield Beach clinic suspected of selling anabolic steroids without prescriptions. Harrell and the others were found to be customers, and after a lengthy Internal Affairs investigation, they were suspended without pay.
In the wake of the scandal, then-Chief Delsa Bush ordered a steroid testing program within the department.
Harrell now finds himself under investigation again after Sunday’s incident at Banko Cantina on South Olive Avenue.
The video speaks for itself: Harrell and other officers were responding to reports of a disturbance at the restaurant.
The situation seems to escalate when the police arrived as a cop identified as Harrell ends up grabbing a woman, 25-year-old Shannon Chatman, by the hair and slam her into the ground. He then grabbed her by the neck to lead her into his squad car across the street.
She was charged with resisting arrest and assault on a police officer after she appeared to try to grab Harrell’s face early in the video.
The public outcry has forced WPB PD to review the incident.
A former neighbor of Harrell, meanwhile, sounded off on this story and defended the officer.
“Kevin is a man of wisdom, kindness humility whom I’ve known for 17 years,” said Alex Abreu, a West Palm Beach resident and prison guard. “I believe the public is judging Kevin on a short video clip. He will prevail once investigation is complete. When dealing with law enforcement, just comply and everybody will be safe.”