Yakima Residents Outraged After Video of Police Beating a Teenager Emerges
WASHINGTON — September 27, 2018
Discontent is growing in Washington after an incident which resulted in police violently beating a teenager. According to the Washington Police Department, an officer sprayed the young man in the face of a can of pepper spray, then knocked him to the ground, kicking him in the back and beating him.
The video, which captured the police officer kicking the boy to the ground as nearby officers yelled "get on the ground," had accumulated nearly 285,000 views on Facebook as of early Tuesday.
The Yakima Police Department admitted later that the officer had used "force while effecting an arrest” on Sunday during the Central Washington State Fair in Yakima, about two hours southeast of Seattle, but it did not provide additional details. It did not disclose any information about the officer in question.
Yakima’s interim police chief, Gary Jones, issued a statement on the police department’s website and Facebook page Monday night, asking witnesses to come forward with any information that may help the investigation.
The department's Facebook post had hundreds of comments by the middle of next week, with a majority of users expressing outrage over the issue, swearing, including some who questioned if the boy might develop spinal injuries due to the impact of the kick.
"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. "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.
Jones didn't disclose the boy’s age or identity, but a witness told ABC News the boy was a student at Wapato High School in Wapato, Washington.
Jasmin Hernandez Cervera, an eyewitness of the event who shared the video of the incident on Facebook, said the officers were responding to a chaotic brawl that involved about 15 “young” boys. She said it looked like "any high school fight."
It’s unclear if charges were filed in connection with the incident, but Cervera said the boy was escorted out by police.
"They were young," Cervera said. "There were no weapons involved, just kids swinging at each other."
Bill Pickett, who identified himself as the boy’s attorney, called the officer’s conduct 'abusive and unacceptable.'
"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."
The incident has enraged resident of the city. People are now demanding that police catch and punish the attacker.
The boy's relatives say they do not understand how this could happen.
"Yes, we demand justice. We know him as a calm boy, and the police in the city are really terrorizing residents," said the head of the family.
Many Facebook users have commented on the incident.
"I lived in Yakima for 20 years. This is Washington. This truly does not surprise me. Things like this happen all the time, and because the County Sheriff is the ultimate authority in the county, he can suppress media coverage of incidents like this, with county and city cops both, with threats to the local newspaper owner, and does all the time. It's truly a corrupt good ol' boys cesspool," said a user nicknamed collusion.