Viral video of a Washington police officer kicking a teen in the back after using pepper spray on him has resulted in the department opening a use of force investigation on Monday.
The video was recorded on Sunday during the Central Washington State Fair in Yakima. According to the Yakima Police Department, the officer had used "force while effecting an arrest,” which involved the officer yelling "get on the ground” to the suspect, reported ABC News.
Yakima’s interim police chief, Gary Jones, issued a statement on the police department’s website that asked anyone with information about the incident to come forward.
“The Yakima Police Department has been made aware of a video posting that involves a Yakima Police officer using force while effecting an arrest last night,” Jones said Monday. “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.
“Anyone with information concerning this event is encouraged to contact the department and share what information they may have,” he added.
Although Jones did not disclose the boy’s age or identity, a witness told ABC News the boy was a student at Wapato High School in Wapato, Washington.
Jasmin Hernandez Cervera, who shared video of the incident on Facebook, said officers arrived during a brawl between about 15 “young” boys. Cervera described the incident as a typical “high school fight."
Although it remains unclear if the boy was charged following the kick, Cervera did say the boy was escorted out by police.
“They were young,” Cervera said. There were no weapons involved, just “kids swinging at each other,” she added.
Bill Pickett, who identified himself as the boy’s attorney, called the officer’s conduct “abusive and unacceptable,” according to the Yakima Herald.
“The family wants justice,” he said. “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.”
(Photo: ABC News)
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