Shocking video footage was captured of what appears to be an African American Philadelphia police officer punching a woman in the face. The female seemed to be one of many attending the Puerto Rican Day Parade on Sunday.
Huffington Post reports that the police officer is currently under investigation after the video was posted on YouTube.
The video was uploaded to YouTube by user “Gisela Valentin” on Sept. 30. We have not verified the authenticity of the recording; however, it looks to have been taken during Philadelphia’s Puerto Rican Day parade on Sunday.
In it, about two people in the crowd appear to throw liquid on a group of police officers. But one officer’s reaction has drawn criticism and claims of police brutality.
At the beginning of the clip, a woman in a black T-shirt to the left of the frame can be seen throwing what appears to be water or possibly silly string in the direction of a group of officers. Moments later, an officer comes after the woman and appears to punch her in the face without warning. The force of the blow knocks the woman to the ground, where she is quickly handcuffed by the same officer.
The video was posted to Reddit on Monday morning and quickly rose to the front page of the social news site.
Although the initial headline professed the woman’s innocence and called the officer’s reaction a “sucker punch,” closer observation on the part of users revealed that the woman in question looks to have thrown something toward the police.
This action was further clarified by user “_repost_” who made several animated gifs highlighting the woman’s actions. Despite the woman’s behavior, many Redditors said that the officer’s use of force was inappropriate.
The International Digital Times called the incident a “completely and utterly disgusting” case of police brutality.
The woman appears to be bleeding from the mouth as she is led away by police. Her identity has not been released.
City Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez, a central organizer of the parade, said she spoke with Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey this morning, and that Ramsey was particularly upset because the incident involved a commanding officer.
“He was very concerned,” Sanchez said. She noted that this year’s parade theme was “The Puerto Rican Woman.”
The lieutenant will be assigned to desk duty while the incident is investigated, police said.
Sanchez said she had met with police commanders before the parade in the hope of avoiding conflicts between police and paradegoers.
“It’s unfortunate that this happened because we just talked about it before the parade,” said Sanchez.
The woman, who is not identified, is shown falling to the ground, her face bloodied. In the seconds before the punch, the woman had been walking around a group of people and police officers. Someone near her in the crowd can be seen throwing some liquid into the air, toward the officers.
It appears in the video that she had sprayed silly string from a can.
The woman was taken into custody and issued a citation for disorderly conduct, police said, then released.