A police officer in Austin, Texas, was caught on video (below) using pepper spray on an unidentified black man who was handcuffed inside a police van on March 17.
A member of the activist group Peaceful Streets Project filmed the incident, and identified the officer as Cameron Caldwell.
In the video, Caldwell is seen opening the van door and asking the man inside, “What did I tell you about kicking the door?”
Caldwell then uses pepper spray on the man's face, and says again, “What did I tell you about kicking the door?”
Caldwell closes the door, sealing the screaming man inside with the chemical substance.
"Wow, you a--hole," the Peaceful Streets Project member tells Caldwell. "I saw that, I got that on film, you abusive a--hole.”
After the incident happened, the Peaceful Streets Project member told other officers what happened, but they did not appear to do anything.
In response to the video, the Austin Police Department said it has begun an internal investigation of the incident, notes the Austin American-Statesman.
Antonio Buehler, founder of the Peaceful Streets Project, told the newspaper that his group increased its filming of police during the South by Southwest Conference and Festival in the city.
According to Buehler, his group has about 10 people filming on the streets, and they have seen multiple incidents where police used Tasers and pepper spray on people.
“They’re treating pepper spray like a grand marshal treats candy at a parade, just throwing it out there like crazy,” Buehler stated.
Buehler said that Caldwell definitely crossed the line: “We see these cops violating policy and committing crimes all the time, but usually there is some gray area that they like to dance. This was just crystal clear. There is no way by law or policy that what this guy did was acceptable. There is zero gray area.”
Austin police were also filmed using pepper spray on a SXSW crowd on March 17 as well, notes Time Warner Cable News.
In this video, also by the Peaceful Streets Project, the pepper spray resembles a large spray of water as it dowses the crowd.
The police department said in a statement that it "is aware of the incident captured on video," and it has "launched an internal investigation."
WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE, VIOLENCE