A Chicago police officer is under investigation after a viral video showed a police officer slamming a man onto the ground, department officials said Friday.
Anthony Guglielmi, the chief communications office for the city’s police force, said the actions of the officer depicted in video were under investigation and “complaints of citizens are being taken very seriously.”
The widely-shared incident was posted to social media and shows an officer picking up a 29-year-old man and throwing him to the pavement on the city’s South Side, hitting his head on the sidewalk curb in front of a bus station.
Another officer is seen trying to shake the man but he does not appear to stir in the remaining moments of the 42-second clip.
According to The Chicago Tribune, Police defended the officer’s action by claiming he performed “an emergency takedown” in response to the man licking an officer’s face.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) wrote on Twitter that the video is “very disturbing,” but noted that it does not depict the entirety of the interactions between police and the individual.
“The matter is under investigation by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA). It is my expectation that the investigation will be comprehensive and expedited so that the public may gain a complete picture of what happened,” Lightfoot wrote.
Jovonna Jamison, the bystander who filmed the video, told the Tribune that she was in a car at a red light when she saw the officer take the man’s beer.
“I was nervous. I was scared. I was hoping this young man was okay,” Jamison said.
She said that witnessing the officer’s action left her “hysterical.”
“I’m not really surprised because it happens so much in Chicago, but I didn’t think I would ever see it front and center,” Jamison told the newspaper.
Chicago’s Civilian Police Oversight Agency (COPA) tweeted that it was “actively seeking witnesses, canvassing for 3rd party video and obtaining evidence related to this incident.”
Watch the video below:
Warning, this video is graphic! A man was seriously hurt after being slammed to the ground by @Chicago_Police on Thanksgiving Day in Chatham when he allegedly spit on an officer while being detained for drinking alcohol in public. @chicagosmayor Video captured by: Jovanna Jamison pic.twitter.com/jGN1jYq9BF
— Tia A. Ewing (@TIA_EWING) November 29, 2019