Sgt. Matthew Grimes was asked to give a presentation to a church audience on July 24 at Municipal Gardens, in the 1800 block of Lafayette Road.
During the presentation, an altercation broke out in the crowd, and Grimes intervened. The officer was thrown to the ground and drew his Taser, ready to stun one of the people involved, police said.
At that point, someone stepped in and told the officer that the incident had been concocted to test the reaction of the officer to the situation, police said. Grimes suffered severe back spasms after the incident and was taken to Methodist Hospital for treatment.
James Harrington, pastor of the Mt. Vernon Missionary Baptist Church, said he set up the scenario to test a white officer's reaction to a fight between two black men.
"Their job is to protect and serve, and even though they have families and children, that they don't put any regard to their safety," Harrington said. "I don't think it was dangerous because it was in a controlled environment."
Harrington denied that the officer was injured.
"We are trying to do anything that we can to save the lives of our children," he said. "We have to have live demonstrations of violence carried on by professional actors who are trained to do what they do."
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-Do you think this helps to further race relations in America?
-If the cop was not hurt, what benefit would have come from this scenario?
-Do you find this to be a good idea?
-Should churches be involved in such things as this?
-What do you think the motive was behind this alleged staged incident?