Philadelphia, PA – Philadelphia police are investigating a viral cell phone video of a Philadelphia police officer grabbing a handcuffed woman by the hair after she threatened to spit on him (video below).
The incident began early on Wednesday afternoon in the 2300-block of Colorado Street when two officers approached a parked van occupied by 18-year-old Na-sha Lockett and her friend Khalil Harvin and began banging on the windows, according to WCAU.
Harvin told WCAU he thought police were looking at the van because it had previously been reported stolen.
“[The officers] were being disrespectful the whole time,” Lockett said. “They could have done a little more. They could have asked questions.”
The video showed the officer had Lockett up against his car while he handcuffed her.
“Get the f–k off of me!” she repeatedly screamed.
The officer can be heard saying “no” to something.
And then Lockett yelled “I’m about to spit on you.”
That’s when the video showed the officer grabbed Lockett by the hair and spun her around.
He took her to the ground and held her there while she screamed and struggled.
“Get off me,” she wailed.
The video showed a woman on a cell phone repeatedly approaching the officer as he held Lockett down.
“I was trying to get up, I was trying to use my knees to get up. Then he got on top of me and I started saying I have asthma and started crying,” Lockett said.
Another woman repeatedly approached the officer holding Lockett asking “Why are you on her like that?” the video showed.
“Call for a sergeant,” one of the witnesses filming the video said.
Lockett acknowledged to WCAU that she had threatened to spit on the police officer, but said she thought his response to her threat was inappropriate.
“You dragged me to the ground. You slammed me, pulled my hair. You did too much,” she said.
The Philadelphia Police Department told WCAU that it is investigating the use-of-force seen in the video.
Retired Washington Metro Transit Police Captain William Malone said the officer’s tactics looked solidly in line with police training.
“He had to take immediate action to keep her from spitting. The fastest way to do that is take control of her head,” Captain Malone said. “The officer did nothing wrong from what can be seen in the video.”
Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby said the union was waiting for the internal affairs investigation to be completed before they comment.
“It’s currently under investigation and we won’t second-guess officers out in the street doing a difficult job,” McNesby said.
Locket said she was arrested and spent the night in jail, before disorderly conduct charges were dropped on Thursday morning, WCAU reported.
The Philadelphia Police Department would not comment on whether Lockett’s charges were pending.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below: