Video from protests in Seattle showed a police officer pressing a knee into a suspected looter’s neck during an arrest, prompting shouts from other protesters. Another officer then removed the officer’s knee and move it to the detained man’s back.
The video has captured viral attention and led to outrage among many, who compared it to video of a Minneapolis police officer holding a knee onto the neck of George Floyd as he pleaded that he could not breathe. In the wake of Floyd’s death, protesters in Seattle had called for an end to police brutality, especially as it relates to people of color.
The video was shared on Twitter by journalist Matt M. McKnight, who noted that the arrest took place outside a T-Mobile store in downtown Seattle where looting was taking place. The identity of the police officer and the detained man were not known.
As the Independent reported, more footage appeared to show the same officer pressing a knee into the necks of other suspected looters as police responded to the unrest.
“Several seconds before the confrontation between the officer and the man in the orange sweatshirt, the same cop appeared to be kneeling on the neck of another suspected looter while assisting with an arrest,” the report noted.
The police officer’s actions led to cries from protesters calling for him to stop. As the officer held the knee on one suspected looter’s neck, another police officer physically removed the knee and guided it instead to the man’s back.
— Matt M. McKnight (@mattmillsphoto) May 31, 2020
The video was one of a number that emerged from the unrest that spread across Seattle in protests over the weekend, with critics saying that police were too heavy-handed in their tactics.
In another viral video, a young girl could be seen crying in pain after what witnesses said was a spray of mace from a nearby police officer. The video did not capture the beginning of the incident, but showed other protesters tending to the girl by pouring milk on her eyes and face to treat the burning.
Police across the country have come under scrutiny for what critics say are brutal tactics while attempting to quell unrest, with other scenes appearing to show police firing tear gas and other less lethal projectiles at protesters as they complied with orders to move out of dangerous areas.
Several videos have shown police appearing to target journalists who are marked with badges and vests, despite journalists traditionally being allowed to report on protests and rioting in the past.