A San Antonio cop has been accused of using excessive force after appearing to repeatedly punch a teen girl in the face during a recent arrest that was captured on video.
Writers for The Root explain that the controversial visual, which began making the internet rounds this past Sunday, May 21, displays an interaction from the previous evening between members of the Texas-based police squad and a group of party-goers attending a “quinceanera,” a traditional bash thrown in Latino culture to celebrate a girl’s 15th birthday.
According to preliminary reports from the San Antonio Police Department, the matter began inside of the venue where the party was held, when an unnamed adult male was first confronted by two other men for being “inappropriate with the juveniles” at the party.
Following a confrontation of the three individuals that quickly went violent, the owners of the establishment threw everyone out their doors, and the fight soon continued in the parking lot.
Officers were called to the scene to break apart the rowdy crowd when, as seen in the video, a young woman in a purple dress approaches one of the cops who, almost instinctively, turns around and punches the girl straight in the face.
“He then strikes her again,” the New York Daily News further details, “causing her to fall into people standing nearby.
“He appears to hit her again before he and other officers arrest her.”
The recording of the arrest can be seen below. Please be advised that the following video contains graphic content (an alternate video link can be accessed here).
The girl’s lawyer, Artessia House, relayed to the Huffington Post on Wednesday that it’s “clear as day” that the law enforcement officer overstepped a major boundary while dealing with her client, who is only 14 years old.
“It looks like the officer punched the girl with a closed fist,” Ms. House stated.
“There was nothing [she did] that merited that use of force. There’s really no excuse.”
Furthermore, despite being claimed by several witnesses as being a “tense” scene due to the cops’ rough attempts to break up the melee, the punched girl was not said to have been involved in any of the violent acts that took place that evening, before or after San Antonio police were called to the scene.
Nonetheless, the teenager was still booked and charged with assaulting a public servant and transferred to a juvenile detention center on Saturday evening, and was ultimately released to the care of her parents following a hearing on Monday afternoon.
House expects the entire matter to be eventually dropped as the opposing prosecutor was on board with seeing the teen go free, as well.
“[The officer] lacked the temperament and the restraint when it came to dealing with this child to the point where he became an aggressor,” Ms. House added in her statement to the Huffington Post.
“When we talk about use of force, the force has to be proportional. That force does not seem that it would be proportional, even if the child did hit him. Because she is a 14-year-old minor, she needs to be treated as a 14-year-old minor, not as an adult.”
An examination performed by a doctor at the Bexar County Juvenile Detention Center uncovered no serious injuries to the teen, but she did relay to House that her requests for an ice pack after the policeman’s attack were ignored by medical workers.
In a statement of his own to the media, Police Chief William McManus expressed that his department is currently investigating the events which led to “the arrest of the juvenile to ensure [its] compliance with Department policies.”
The identity of the San Antonio cop who punched the girl, meanwhile, was not mentioned by McManus in his public statement.
[Featured Image by mrtom-uk/iStock]