A recently surfaced video shows at least three police officers in San Antonio, Texas, forcibly restraining and punching a 14-year-old African-American girl outside a quinceañera party while her mother screamed in the background.
They later arrested and charged the eighth-grader with assaulting a public servant, despite the video clearly showing officer violently attacking her.
The incident took place after a scuffle broke out between two male attending a quinceañera in the city's northeast side over the weekend. One of the men reportedly accused other of behaving inappropriately with the juveniles. When things started to get a little out of hands, the venue owners kicked the entire party out on to the street, but even that was not enough to break the fight.
According to a preliminary police report, that is when the San Antonio Police Department intervened.
The teenager, whose name remains under wraps because she is a minor, was charged even though she was not reportedly involved in the initial altercation.
“It looks like the officer punched the girl with a closed fist,” said Artessia House, one of the girl’s lawyers. She added the accused officer “lacked the temperament and the restraint when it came to dealing with this child to the point where he became an aggressor.”
It is unclear what happened before the police officers began using excessive force on the teenager, who has no history of violence.
“When we talk about use of force, the force has to be proportional. … That force does not seem that it would be proportional — even if the child did hit him,” the lawyer added. “Because she is a 14-year-old minor, she needs to be treated as a 14-year-old minor — not as an adult.”
House claimed one of the officers also choked the minor’s mother, though the police neither arrested nor charged her.
As for the teenager, who fell down after a cop lunged at her, the authorities did not provide her with any medical attention. A medical professional saw her at Bexar County Juvenile Detention Center, where she was initially held, but they did not even provide her with an ice pack.
House expects the charges to be dropped soon.
SATX4, the local Black Lives Matter-aligned group, also criticized the San Antonio Police Department for using excessive force against a teenager.
Meanwhile, San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor has released a statement saying the matter is under investigation.
“The video made public showing a scuffle between police officers and a girl is hard to watch and to listen to. SAPD is now reviewing body cam video to determine exactly what happened and Chief McManus is keeping me updated on the ongoing investigation. When I supported funding for body cameras it was for instances like this so that we can see exactly what happened and protect officers and citizen.”