Witnesses are claiming that a viral video shows a Pittsburgh police officer using unwarranted and excessive force on a gay teenager at the city's pride parade.
Witness to the incident, Autumn Huntera, shared the story to Facebook and described her account to The Gaily Grind, a LGBTQ news website. According to Huntera, the incident occurred at around 5 P.M. on Sunday, June 16. She explained that the protester in the video "was saying that being gay is not a sin and that she was a lesbian and proud of it, and that she wasn't going to hell for it."
The girl was debating with one of the protesters, and she stepped closer without even realizing it and the officer ran over to her. He grabbed her by the back of her neck, pulled her over, dropped her on the ground, pulled her up by her hair, and said "Do you want me to hit you." When she didn't respond, he hit her in stomach area about 4 or 5 times repeatedly. After everyone yelled at him, he hand cuffed her, put her against a wall. She was crying against a wall next to her 'attacker' while her fiancee was panicking trying to find someone who recorded it.
A second witness, Lawanda Pearson, corroborated Huntera's version of events, and disputed comments given to local channel WPXI claiming that the officer's report said that he was merely breaking up a fight and only used force on the young woman because she "kicked and punched" him.
The officer was not kicked and punched. The girl just stood her ground as the officer got in her face, and then he grabbed her and threw her on the ground. When she did not get back up, the cop grabbed her by her hair and pulled her up saying, 'Do you want me to hit you' then he just repeatedly punch[ed] her on her side.
While it's not clear from the above video exactly how the altercation started, it sure seems as though that was quite a number of gut punches. How many of these punches are really necessary to remove a counter protester from an entanglement?
WPXI also reported that the Mayor is looking into the incident.
Video via Autumn Huntera/YouTube.