Huntsville police said their officers acted within department policies in a weekend arrest that a witness captured on video and posted online.
Heaven Cordule said she and some friends were leaving the Madison Square 12 movie theater around midnight Saturday when they saw two officers detain someone.
Cordule said she started recording when she saw one of the officers punch someone in the back.
Monday afternoon police said in a statement that the strikes to the man were in order to get him to release an officer's hand.
Police said they had been called to an accident and found the man, who was intoxicated, walking around the accident. The man resisted and tried to run when officers tried to put him in handcuffs.
Police said the struggle lasted more than four minutes and the man was told to put his hands behind his back 31 times. The strikes seen in the video were to large muscle areas in an attempt to get the man to let the officer's hand go, police said.
No one was injured in the incident, police said. They said it was also captured on both officers' in-car video cameras and their body cameras, which were pulled off during the struggle. Police said the video would not be released because it was an active criminal case.
"Because this is an active criminal case we cannot release our videos, however there are several more minutes of video filmed by the citizens that was not posted, and we support the released of this video," the police department said in a statement.
Cordule said the officers yelled at her and her friends to stop recording and leave. Police said bystanders were told to move out of the roadway to allow traffic to flow.