Austin’s police chief has said he is “sickened and saddened” by a traffic stop last year, which was caught on video showing a white officer twice throwing black school teacher Breaion King to the ground.
In a second video, another white officer later told King that African-Americans have “violent tendencies.”
Art Acevedo, the police chief in the Texas capital, said his department was investigating the June 2015 incident involving the 26-year-old teacher.
It is another in a series of incidents caught on video that have raised questions about racial bias in American policing.
Acevedo said “your heart sinks” when you see such an incident. He added that while the woman resisted, the officers did not respond properly.
He added: “My heart was sickened and saddened when I first learned of this incident.”
ABC NEWS says the police chief had been unaware of the incident.
Although the incident occurred in June 2015, Austin’s police chief Art Acevedo said that it only came to his attention on Tuesday, when Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg called him and advised him that a reporter from the Austin American-Statesman was working on a story on the incident.
FOX 7 NEWS noted one of the officers had received counseling:
King was charged with resisting arrest. The case against her was dismissed in January. Richter, who has been with APD for 6+ years, it’s been reported received counseling and additional trading. Spradlin, an APD officer for nearly 15 years was not disciplined at the time.
WASHINGTON POST says the US is on edge:
The controversy comes as the country remains on edge over issues of race and law enforcement.
Police killings of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota this month triggered protests in a number American cities, and two black gunmen upset by those incidents later shot dead five policemen in Dallas and three in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Austin Police Release Arrest Videos
The videos of the Austin incident were released by Austin police following an investigation by the Austin American-Statesman newspaper and local television station KVUE, and have been broadcast by local media.
King, who did not initially press charges against the officers, told local media she waited to revisit the incident because she was embarrassed and afraid.
She has hired a lawyer, who sought the videos, and has not said if she will file a civil lawsuit.
The two officers have been placed on non-law enforcement duty during the investigation.
The newspaper also reported that Travis County district attorney’s office is considering taking the case to a grand jury.
In one video, officer Bryan Richter is shown pulling over King for going 50 miles per hour in a 35 mph zone.
King is seen stepping out of the car, goes back in to get her driver’s license and is told by Richter to put her feet in the car so he can shut the door.
A few seconds later, he asks her to stand up, and grabs her. She is heard saying, “Oh my God,” and the officer says, “Stop resisting,” as the two struggle.
He then is seen pulling King out and throwing her to the ground. She stands up with her hands behind her back and is thrown to the ground again and the two again struggle.
Later, as King is transported to jail by another officer, Patrick Spradlin, video shows King telling the officer she believes police can be biased against black people.
“I can give you a really good idea why it might be that way. Violent tendencies. And I want you to think about that,” the officer responds.