The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Police Department in Boston has launched an investigation over a video (below) showing a police officer appearing to hit a woman on a bus and pulling a gun on Sept. 18.
Transit Police Lieutenant Richard Sullivan told the Boston Globe that the woman was confronted by the officer after a vendor at a bus station accused her of theft and pointed her out.
“He’s on a bus giving her lawful orders to cease her behavior and she’s assaulting him,” Sullivan stated. “He obviously felt threatened.”
However, Nino Brown, the bystander who filmed the video, was shocked by the officer's behavior, which prompted him to start filming. Brown is part of an activist group, Mass Action Against Police Brutality.
“He ran up to her, and began barking in her face,” Brown told the Boston Globe. “He didn’t do anything to de-escalate the situation or calm her down. He escalated the situation.”
At one point in the video, other passengers filming the incident with their cell phones move toward the officer and woman. The cop pulls out his gun, and the passengers begin yelling, "Drop the gun!”
The passengers also tell the woman to calm down, although she still struggles with the officer.
Brown added that five police officers came on the bus with hands on their guns to take the woman into custody; she was charged with larceny.
“It seemed unnecessary,” Brown stated. “How many adult men does it take to bring down one woman?"
However, Sullivan claimed the woman “chose to be non-compliant and combative,” and hit the officer.
“All that woman had to do was behave as a responsible citizen and engage peacefully,” Sullivan stated.
PhotographyIsNotACrime.com reports that Sullivan didn't say why the officer pulled his gun on the woman and/or the passengers.