Video of police beating a young girl in Arizona has emerged this week, sparking outrage and drawing parallels to the death of Eric Garner at the hands of police earlier this year.
The video, taken from a bystander’s cell phone, shows police in Mesa, Arizona, pushing a young girl face-first into the pavement as she screamed “I can’t breathe” — the same words shouted by Garner before he died in July.
Luis Paul Santiago, who was driving past the incident, took a video and uploaded to Facebook, which led to outrage against the Mesa police and what appeared to be their brutality.
Santiago said that the girl did not appear to be a threat, and was instead suffering some kind of medical distress. Her mother could be seen begging police officers to stop striking the girl.
“Literally 20 min ago on hawes and broadway the cop pulled up parked in the middle of the street and ran up on the girl and grabbed her and tried throwing her down,” he wrote, adding, “right when when I started recording the girl was just trying to walk away her mom kept screaming she was emotionally unstable.”
Santiago said he spoke to the Mesa police officers who responded to the scene, noting that they justified their actions.
“Pretty sad she had asthma that’s why she was kickin like a fish,” Santiago added. “The cop said the female cop actred correctly and if she needed to she can shoot her dead.”
In a message on Facebook, Santiago added that the girl was a runaway and that police wanted him to delete the video.
“Just watched mesa PD punch a 15 year old girl in the face 2 times she was a runaway is this rely how we treat emotionally unstable teens? The cops wanted to delete this off my phone share the f**k out of this s**t.”
The Arizona police beating video is the latest instance of what appears to be police brutality. The death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Garner in Staten Island have led to widespread protests. The recent shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland has raised tensions even more.
News.mic attempted to reach the Mesa Police Department to respond to the Arizona police beating video, but the department had not yet commented.