UPDATE (Tuesday): The police officer has been taken off street duty until an investigation is complete, and the teenager allegedly admitted to slapping the officer in the face before the barrage of punches by the cop, a department spokesman said. Click here for more.
Police are investigating a brawl in Southwest Philadelphia that occurred Monday afternoon, including a physical confrontation caught on video that shows a city police officer repeatedly punching a teenager.
As many as 30 people were involved in a street fight at 54th Street and Springfield Avenue about 3:30 p.m., police said. Family members of some of the brawlers called police from a nearby house, according to one witness, Takeema Bundy.
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As responding officers attempted to break up the fight, two videos posted to social media showed the fighting.
A video posted on Instagram first pans across the street, capturing the scope of a mass melee. Within a few moments, the video focuses in on a female police officer who is pushing a teen girl away from the center of the fracas.
The teenager yells at the officer, then begins to shove the officer and grabs the officer's arms. For about a second, the video moves away, but when it returns to the officer and teenager, the officer is seen throwing the teen girl to the ground. The officer then straddles the teen and repeatedly punches the teen as the teen swings back. The officer then pulls the teen girl up by her hair as other brawlers swarm around the two and another officer comes into the frame. The video then ends.
“They threw me against the car and they slammed her on the ground,” the teen’s legal guardian, who did not want to be identified, told NBC10.
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Another video posted on Facebook also shows the incident between the officer and the teen, though it does not show the large brawl that occurred right before. Toward the end of the Facebook video, a second assisting officer can be seen separating some of the brawlers from surrounding the initial female officer and teenager.
Bundy, who is also a friend of the teen, claimed the girl was actually trying to break up the brawl but threw a punch at someone before she was confronted by the police officer. She also told NBC10 the teen's mother died two weeks ago.
“I just feel like she didn’t deserve it,” Bundy said while in tears. “She lost her mom. She don’t got nobody and I feel she was there for me and look where she’s at.”
The teenager is currently in police custody. Philadelphia police say they’re aware of it and its being investigated by the Internal Affairs Division.
“She’s 16 years old,” Bundy said. “I don’t think she deserves that. The cop shouldn’t have done that. That lady was like 30 something.”
Warning: These videos contain violence and strong language