The arrest of a man during this month’s Outfest LGBT street festival, which was caught on video and posted online, has prompted Philadelphia Police to launch an internal affairs investigation.
The video, posted to YouTube and embedded below, shows Anthony Reto being held to the ground on the corner of 12th and Locust Streets in the Gayborhood section of the city on the afternoon of Oct. 13. An unidentified plain clothes Philadelphia Police officer appears to be holding the 23-year-old by the back of the neck as he screamed "help me."
In a second video, obtained by NBC10, a second plain clothes officer can be seen putting her knee into Reto's shoulder as he attempted to push himself off of the ground.
Reto along with his boyfriend Thomas Berner were then arrested and charged with Disorderly Conduct and Conspiracy – both summary offenses.
A Philadelphia Police spokeswoman said prior to the incident, Reto and a group of friends were taking photos in front of and knocking into a sign for the evangelical Christian group Repent America, which was demonstrating at the event. Eventually, police say, the arresting officer allegedly felt someone push him from behind.
The officer reached back and grabbed Reto by the arm and pulled him in front of his body, according to police. Later, police say, Berner allegedly tried to pull police off of Reto saying “get off my boyfriend” and was arrested.
Upset over the arrest, Reto and Berner filed a complaint with Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel, the department’s LGBT community liaison. That information was passed along to the Internal Affairs Unit to begin an investigation.
NBC10 reached out to Reto and his attorney who said they were not ready to comment about the incident. However, Reto told the Philadelphia Gay News he felt the arrest was improper and suffered a number of injuries including bruises on his legs and back and scrapes on his elbows and face.
The investigation is ongoing.
Warning: This video contains profanity.