A violent exchange in Western New York was caught on camera, showing a white man in military fatigues hitting a Black man before pinning him to the ground and sitting on his chest.
Said Hamideh, who took the video, stated that he believed that the Black man was mentally ill.
The video shows the man walking towards the soldier along Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, before lunging towards him. When the two made contact, the soldier punched the man on the side of his face before forcing him to the ground, sitting on his chest, and yelling, “call the police.”
Several bystanders rushed to the scene and asked the soldier to “stop.”
As more people flocked to the scene, one person asked the soldier if he was a “white supremacist, or something.” A second bystander, wearing a red t-shirt, responded: “This isn’t about race. Don’t make it about race,” and went on to tell the other bystanders that they don’t have the full story. He then explained that the man who was pinned down had been causing problems earlier in the area, and police were called.
Hamider, who had not witnessed the previous incident, stated that moments before he started filming, he had seen the man shouting at passers-by.
He explained that the incident between the soldier and the man had been sparked when the man spat at the soldier’s car. An argument ensued where the man made disparaging remarks about the military before calling the soldier a “p****.”
The fight broke out, and Hamideh began filming moments after the soldier had landed a few punches on the man. Bystanders berated the soldier, with one woman accusing him of hitting the man “for no good reason.”
When the bystander in red told the woman that he’d “spat on the soldier’s car,” the woman responded by telling him that hitting someone multiple times for spitting on a car was “not a fair exchange.”
Hamideh, concerned for the man, asked him whether he could breathe under the soldier’s weight.
“Oh yeah man, I’m good. I’ve been waiting for this,” the man said, smiling at Hamideh.
Hamideh turned to the soldier and told him that “shouldn’t sit on his chest.”
A number of shopkeepers and customers approached the scene, with a Black man in a wheelchair arriving at the scene wielding a metal baseball bat. Raising the bat, he asked the soldier: “Are you hitting people? Are you hitting our people?”
The soldier responded casually, “Oh yeah. I hit him.” When the man in the wheelchair and another Black bystander accused the soldier of racism, he responded: “I see a man as a man. He’s yelling and shouting at people in the street, then he comes over and spits on my car. Then he turned around on me. I’m not going to let him hit me first, man.”
Police arrived as an argument between the soldier and the man in the wheelchair was raging on. The soldier then walked away, leaving the man prone on the ground. The video cut out as bystanders urged the officers to arrest the soldier. Hamideh stated that he was unsure if either of the men was arrested, but stated that the man seemed dazed as he was taken away from the scene in a stretcher.
“I really didn’t like how he was sitting on his chest,” Hamideh said. “I thought that, in the wake of George Floyd, it was inappropriate for a white man in uniform to be putting his body weight on a man’s diaphragm like that.”
According to Hamideh, a waitress at a nearby restaurant told him that the man had recently moved into the neighborhood and had been causing trouble since.
He said: “He apparently flashed some girls a few days before. He was causing problems in the neighborhood that day too. He was shouting incoherently in the street, and people were calling out from the balconies for him to leave.”
Hamideh stated that he was glad that many bystanders tried to help by asking the soldier to stop and documenting the incident on video.
Sources: Daily Mail