Family of man arrested by Newport News Police wants answers after video circulates on social media

NN 30th Street and Roanoke Avenue traffic stop
Posted at 5:55 PM, Jun 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-24 17:55:36-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va.- The family of 31-year-old Lawrence Fenner, who was forcefully arrested by Newport News Police on Tuesday, wants answers.

Videos of the arrest have widely circulated social media this week.

“Hurt. I was hurt to see somebody that I love on camera like that,” said Fenner’s sister, Lorena Fenner.

Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said Fenner was pulled over for speeding and having plates that didn’t match the vehicle. Drew says officers asked Fenner to get out of the car because they saw him lean over to the passenger side and pop back up.

The chief said Fenner refused, and that’s when several officers dragged him out of the car and onto the ground, where both the officers and Fenner can be seen struggling in eyewitness video.

Eyewitness video of NNPD arrest

“Those kicks, those blows, that taser - that was excessive force,” Lorena said.

The chief confirmed the officers used knee strikes and tasered Fenner twice to place him in custody.

“I don’t believe Mr. Fenner was beat up. I believe the officers had to react to his actions,” said Chief Drew. “If Mr. Fenner would have stepped out of that vehicle, we would have checked that vehicle and he would have been on his way.”

The family is calling for justice after seeing the numerous videos circulating on social media.

“I was hurt and I was scared. I didn’t know if he was dead or alive,” Lorena said.

The chief said his officers followed policy and procedure.

“I want him to be transparent enough to the families, to us, to show the video cam footage, show the body cam footage,” Lorena said. “He said they followed policy - show me the policy.”

News 3 reached out to Chief Drew to ask if he’s going to allow the family to watch the body cam video. We haven’t heard back as of Friday evening.

Lawrence Fenner was in court Friday morning. He faces several charges including assault on an officer and possession of a firearm by a felon. Police said they found a 9mm gun in his car. Fenner has a bond hearing Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.