A social media video posting of a teenage boy being pepper sprayed and kicked in the back by two separate police officers has gone viral across the internet.
The Facebook post of the video, which was recorded and published by a witness to the incident named Jasmin Hernandez Cervera, has amassed nearly 300,000 views as of Wednesday morning.
Cervera herself has told media that the officers were responding to a scuffle of teenagers at the Central Washington State Fair in Yakima, Washington, over the weekend, according to reporting from The Hill. The teens were “young,” Cervera described, adding that she did not see any weapons at all being used. These were just “kids swinging at each other,” she added.
The video shows officers walking up to a group of teens during the fight. One officer pulls out his pepper spray and sprays two of the teens, an arm’s reach away from himself, in the face. One of the teens runs away, while the other turns around and stays where he is, holding his face in his hands. A second officer walks up behind the teen, who was being commanded to “get on the ground,” and kicks him hard in the back, causing the teen to fall to the ground.
Neither the teen nor the officers involved in the video have been named, but a lawyer working on behalf of the teen’s family has come forward with a statement from them demanding justice.
“They need to know that they are heard, and they need to know that this type of conduct is wrong and they need to know that this is going to stop,” the family’s lawyer Bill Pickett said.
A formal inquiry into the incident, which took place on Sunday evening, had been opened by the Yakima Police Department.
“Yakima Police Department has been made aware of a video posting that involves a Yakima Police officer using force while effecting an arrest [Sunday] night,” Interim Police Chief Gary Jones said.
“Maintaining public trust is one of our highest priorities, and in doing so, investigators will be collecting all available evidence as it pertains to a use of force review,” Jones added. He encouraged any citizen with additional information to come forward and speak with his department.
Jones cautioned that any investigation would take time before justified action could be carried out. He emphasized that the investigation could take weeks, even months, according to reporting from KIMA.tv.com.