San Antonio, TX — A video uploaded to Facebook of an incident Saturday night has a family and community members crying foul as it shows multiple San Antonio police officers manhandle and allegedly hit a 14-year-old girl.
The brief video was taken by a bystander during an alleged altercation between two males at a teenager’s quinceañera, the Latin American celebration of a girl turning 15-years-old.
The 14-year-old victim and her mother attended the quinceañera and were in the parking lot leaving when police showed up.
Although the video is brief, it shows several officers grab her while one appears to strike her in the face. All the while, the young girl’s mother watches in horror as her daughter is assaulted and kidnapped by SAPD.
The 14-year-old girl was arrested and brought to the Bexar County Juvenile Detention Center on a criminal charge of assaulting a public servant. She was held for two nights until being released Monday afternoon.
As MySA reports, Artessia House, one of the girl’s lawyers, said her client, an honor-roll student with no history of violence, did not assault the officer. House said one officer can be seen in the video “clear as day” striking the girl.
Monday night, after the video began to gain traction online, Police Chief William McManus issued a statement, saying, “Per SAPD policy, the events leading up to the arrest of the juvenile for assaulting a public official is being investigated to ensure compliance with Department policies.”
As the video begins, the officers appear to be talking to the girl’s mother. All of the sudden we hear someone, allegedly the 14-year-old, say, “Don’t talk to her like that.”
Officers then surrounded the girl in the purple dress as more rush over. At one point, at least one officer appears to strike the girl. The tussle then moves behind a vehicle out of the view of the camera.
“No! No! No! No!” the mother cries, as officers hold her back from her daughter. “Let her go!”
Although the young girl is taken out of view of the camera, we can still hear her cries for help in the video.
“Help! Mamma!” the girl screams as she is taken away.
As MySA reports, the department’s policy states that an officer can use physical force or an intermediate weapon if a suspect is actively being resistant. It goes on: “If circumstances allow, officers should attempt to de-escalate tense situations through ‘advisements, warnings, verbal persuasion, and other tactics’ to reduce the need for force.”
It appears that no de-escalation techniques or advisements were used in this video, only instant violence.
Monday night, a group of activists attended the court hearing, decrying the officers’ actions. Taj Matthews, executive director of the Claude & ZerNona Black Development Leadership Foundation, said he wants to know how the investigation will be handled, according to MySA.
“There’s no way you can justify this officer hitting this girl in the face,” he said.