A Pennsylvania police chief is defending officers who were seen in a viral video slamming a Black teenage girl on top of a cafeteria table after punching her and pulling her hair.
According Scranton news station WYOU, two teenage girls were arrested and suspended from Hazleton Area High School after a massive brawl broke out in the school.
In the video, which takes place after the fight, a police officer can be seen violently restraining a student by punching her in the legs until her knees buckle, pulling on her hair, and pressing her against the lunch table.
When the clip first starts, another girl is seen being escorted away by a different school official.
According to police chief Edward Harry, the video does not show the entire story of the events preceding the arrest.
“They only saw a just very small portion of what went on, they didn’t see anything about what led up to it and the entire altercation in the cafeteria — I’m going to refer to it as a melee,” Chief Harry told Scranton news station WYOU. “At that point, the officers had to get that under control immediately. You can see from that snippet of video, there were hundreds of kids in the cafeteria…they were all cheering her on…yelling and screaming. They needed to deescalate that.”
Uplinger said there was an argument between several girls in the cafeteria that escalated to violence.
“It’s important to know there are always two sides to every story and it’s really important for parents and students and community members to get both sides of those stories before going to social media,” Uplinger told WYOU.
According to Harry, four students will be expelled from school and might face criminal charges.