Philadelphia Police are investigating video of a police officer who, while breaking up a fight involving more than 30 people, repeatedly punched a teen on the ground.
As a result of the investigation, the unnamed officer has already been removed from street duty.
According to Philly.com, police responded Monday afternoon to a report of a person with a weapon and arrived to find dozens brawling.
One female officer, who has not yet been identified, was filmed in the middle of it all.
At first glance, this appears to be a clear cut case of police brutality.
The police statement on the incident, though, says there is some important context not seen in the video:
A female officer began to give several verbal commands and push her back away from the scene. She continued to argue with the officer as she continued to move her back. The defendant indicated that she slapped the officer’s hands away from her and told the officer to get off of her. Both the defendant and the officer stated that the defendant struck the officer in the face, knocking her glasses off of the officer’s face, breaking them. At that time, the officer began to struggle with the defendant and grabbed her by the hair, taking her to the ground. Both the officer and the defendant indicated that they both threw punches, striking each other while on the ground.
The 16-year-old teen, police say, admitted to hitting the officer in the face.
Police Commissioner Richard Ross described both teen’s and the officer’s version of events as “virtually identical.”
“I’m not trying to justify anything. I’m just merely saying that police work sometimes isn’t as pretty as people want it to be,” he said. “And in this case, rarely do you get incidents where the police officer and the person taken into custody tell an identical story, but in this case they did.”
The teen has been charged with assault on a police officer and disorderly conduct.