A video taken by a woman in Los Angeles is going viral after it shows at least four police officers pointing their guns at a Black man kneeling on the sidewalk and facing away from the cops with his hands in the air.
Filmed on Friday (June 7), the video was shot in the city of Hawthorne, California and progresses to show more officers arrive as the woman filming, Sky Holsey, begs the officers to put their guns away. The man they’re pointing their weapons at can be heard yelling he is unarmed.
“Is all that really necessary,” Holsey says to the officers in the video. “Is all the guns drawn on him necessary?”
After more than two minutes through the video, police apprehended the man. One officer approached Holsey, telling her they were responding to a robbery and that the man “loosely matches the description” of the suspect.
“We’re not saying he’s a suspect, but we’ve got to figure out what’s going on,” the officer told her in the video. “It says a weapon was involved. That’s the only reason he gets held at gunpoint.”
According to Holsey, the incident occurred at a busy intersection in Hawthorne. The man kneeling, later identified as 24-year-old William Ewell, ended up being arrested, police records show. According to a news release, the arrest was in connection with an alleged argument Ewell had with a gas station employee over a prior purchase.
After the video went viral, many were outraged how the incident played out. Some are also praising Holsey for her video, which they believe could’ve saved Ewell’s life.
In Hawthorne, California police had guns drawn on an unarmed black man, William. The pain you hear in the woman's voice is chilling. I felt it through the screen. Heartbreaking.— Kenidra4Humanity (@KenidraRWoods_) June 9, 2019
Here's the police department info:
12501 Hawthorne Blvd, Hawthorne, CA 90250
1 (310) 349-2700 pic.twitter.com/Ioz9zBOTp4
Hawthorne, California police draw multiple guns on an unarmed black man who is cooperating without any resistance, displaying his hands in clear view.— Travis Akers (@travisakers) June 9, 2019
Listen to the raw terror in this woman’s voice as she pleads for the officers to put their guns away.pic.twitter.com/4aMdoLdyaU
Cops with guns drawn surrounded an unarmed Black man, William, who was kneeling on the ground with his hands in the air, in California this AM.— Rebecca J. Kavanagh (@drrjkavanagh) June 9, 2019
It’s filmed by a young woman, Skye, who I think literally saves his life. Listening to her is gut-wrenching.pic.twitter.com/JKv8khF1Fd
Gut wrenching video from a brave young lady named Sky Holsey, interceding to protect an unarmed man surrounded by #armedpolice with guns drawn. Need I mention the guy is black? One of them aims a gun directly at Skye. What a disgrace. #BLM #uspolhttps://t.co/WQn0luTxBX— Alan Dow (@wodnala) June 11, 2019
Police scandal in Hawthorne, an LA suburb — Unarmed man surrounded by cops who don’t move to arrest, but keep guns on him while 1 cop points her military weapon AT citizen capturing this on cell phone.— David Cay Johnston (@DavidCayJ) June 10, 2019
The police chief & every cop on scene needs to be held accountable. https://t.co/jRDZxffs3e
The man was on his knees with his hands behind his head. If your officers are too scared to approach him at that point, maybe they’re in the wrong job. And one officer was threatening the witness. It would have been very easy to kill someone including one of your own officers.— Wendy Brandes - #Nope of the Day (@WendyBrandes) June 10, 2019
This hurt so bad. Her courage.— Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) June 10, 2019
Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images