4 Jan 2017
Charges have been dropped against a Philadelphia teenager after a viral video showed a police officer pummeling her as she lay on the street.
The Internal Affairs Unit is investigating the incident, which took place on Monday at around 2.45pm after police were called to a brawl of around 30 people, involving adults and teenagers, in Kingsessing, Philadelphia.
Video recorded by onlookers shows a girl, identified by ABC 6 as Johnnae Pendleton, 16, arguing with a female officer who was telling her to leave the scene. Pendleton later said she was trying to help her friend’s mother who was being detained.
A police statement claims both the officer and teenager recalled that Pendleton slapped the officer in the face and knocked her glasses off, breaking them.
The officer then grabbed Pendleton by the hair and pulled her to the ground to restrain her, according to the police statement.
“It went from there. She was dragging me by my hair, banging my head on the ground, on the car, punching me, sat on top of me and was punching me in my face,” said Pendleton in an interview with ABC 6.
Footage recorded once the teenager is on the ground shows the officer repeatedly punching at Pendleton, while the teenager hits back at the officer.
“It’s just an ugly situation from start to finish,” Philadelphia police commissioner Richard Ross told ABC 6. “There’s no denying that.”
The officer had bruising around her eye and cheek and Pendleton was sent to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia after neck pain complaints.
The teen was charged with assault on police, disorderly conduct and related charges but on Tuesday afternoon the district attorney decided not to pursue them.
Police said the Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating the incident and staff involved and the office will remain off street duties until the investigation is complete.
“I am happy that it was caught on video because if it wasn’t I would have been charged and I would’ve been in a youth study center or something,” Pendleton said.