A Pittsburgh police officer has been placed on administrative duty pending an investigation after he was caught on video punching a teenage girl who had been confronting Christian protesters during the city’s gay pride event.
According to the criminal complaint, Ariel Lawther was fighting with a man named Eric Moore. The officer involved said when he went to break the fight up, he was pushed and kicked. The complaint stated that the officer, “pulled the woman out and grabbed her hair and punched her in the stomach a few times.” Channel 11’s Pamela Osborne spoke with Jenny Kenny who recorded the alleged incident. From the very beginning, he grabbed her neck and he shouldn’t have done that,” said Kenny. Channel 11’s Rick Earle reported that sources say the woman involved was arrested and is facing several charges, including resisting arrest. Lawther posted $5,000 bail and has since been released from the Allegheny County Jail. Lawther’s family said she plans to take the incident to a lawyer.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto: “I just want to reassure the people that this is a new day. We won’t look the other way when incidents like this happen, and we want to assure everybody — and that includes both the public and the police — that we want fairness. We will work diligently to make sure that justice is not delayed and that we will be able to proceed over the next month to find out exactly what happened, and to take the proper action.”
Witnesses claim that the girl did not assault the police officer. A much longer clip surfaced yesterday afternoon, but bystanders block the beginning of the incident.