By FARRAH JOHNSON
POLICE are investigating the circumstances behind a recent video circulating on social media where a police officer can be seen punching a woman during a heated altercation with several people.
One of several videos of the incident posted to Facebook shows two men and a woman struggling, before a uniformed police officer approaches them and begins to strike the woman repeatedly.
The 39-second clip is the last of three that was captured and posted in a local Facebook group on Sunday.
Superintendent Anton Rahming told The Tribune while no official reports on the incident have been made as yet, the police do plan to look into the matter.
Confirming he has seen the video himself, he added he could not "put a date" on when more specific details would be released.
"Of course we have to launch an investigation to determine what happened there. The video in my estimation is not really clear to say exactly what took place there at that location, so I cannot say that there will be charges or there won't be charges," he stated.
"Once we do the investigation we'll be in a better position to determine what exactly we would do," he continued.
The first video shows a man being restrained and shoved on a car by another male who shouts: "You lock up! … I said you (expletive) lock up! Put your hands in the air!"
The male recording the video can also be heard in the background saying: "Slap him, slap him, slap him… lock him (expletive) up man."
The second video then shows the restrained man being handled by uniformed officers before a few civilians attempt to intervene and a small crowd gathers.
A female in a black dress can be seen screaming and hitting another male in a white T-shirt as the video ends.
The last clip shows that same female struggling against another male in a red shirt, before an officer appears and begins to punch the woman in her stomach.
The man in the red T-shirt then carries her away as the small crowd disperses.
The male recording can be heard again in the background this time saying: "Gals getting slap up and all...This (N-word) punching up this gal, well (expletive) . .. she hit him first though."
Attorney Christina Galanos advised The Tribune that the officer could be "disciplined" by the police force, which could range from suspension to expulsion.
She added it would also be possible for them to "prosecute" the officer "through the courts" if they chose to do so.
"Those are really the only two things I can see that can happen to him on the criminal or penal side of it," she said.
Ms Galanos insisted other factors have to be taken into consideration during the investigation, like whether the female initiated the altercation with the officer.
"It (the video) was dark so I don't know. I saw in some of the comments that they said that she hit him first," she said.
"Of course if she (did) hit him first, the question would be what he thought. Did he feel as if he was in fear and he had to respond in (kind)?"
She stated that if the woman did not pose any threat to the officer, based on what could be seen in the video, the amount of force he used against her was uncalled for.
"The video is dark. All we saw was a clear picture of him attacking her so from what we were able to see would appear as if the force was unjustified...that's my opinion," she stated.