A video of an unarmed woman being beaten by a cop went viral last Friday.
Witnesses saw a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) police officer hit the woman with a baton, before he turned on the witnesses and threatened them with his gun.
In the video, the officer continually strikes the defenceless woman, yelling “Back up, back up, shut the fuck up!” as bystanders plead with the officer to stop beating the woman with his baton.
As people on the bus approach the officer, imploring him to stop, he pulls out his gun and points it towards them. Witnesses yell at him to drop the gun, as the woman tries to push the officer’s baton away and he stands with his finger on the trigger.
When backup arrives to help subdue the woman, who lashes out against the first officer, a gun is drawn on her again. When the woman is finally cuffed, one of the officers pulls her hair.
MBTA Police Lieutenant Richard Sullivan later said the woman was first approached for a theft, and that the officer used force because the woman was aggressive.
“If you saw the video in the beginning, the officer asks that woman to step off the bus so he can conduct an investigation. She refused to do so, and became actively non-compliant and assaultive,” he said. Sullivan wouldn’t comment on the officer’s decision to pull out his gun.
An investigation is pending, and the officer has been placed on administrative duty.
“This is the state of police brutality and violence,” the Mass Action Facebook group wrote, when it posted the video Friday. “For Black people it’s always guilt until proven innocent.”