Update 2 p.m. Tuesday: Yakima attorney Bill Pickett says the officer who pepper sprayed and then kicked a boy when breaking up a fight at the Central Washington State Fair displayed “abusive and unacceptable conduct by an officer.”
Pickett said he’s representing the boy in a claim against the city.
“The family wants justice,” he said. “They need to know that they are heard, and they need to know that this type of conduct is wrong and they need to know that this is going to stop.”
YAKIMA, Wash. — Yakima police are reviewing an officer’s use of force when breaking up a fight Sunday night at the Central Washington State Fair.
A video posted on Facebook shows an officer kicking a teen boy to the ground after he had been sprayed with mace.
The video shows several youths running from the area while a few remain fighting. Then one of the teens appears disoriented, rubbing his eyes while officers order him to get on the ground. That’s when an officer is shown thrusting a kick into the boy’s backside that knocks him down.
About 15 people were involved in the fight, and four teens were arrested, police said.
Facebook comments on the video support and chastise the officer’s actions.
It’s not clear what may have led up to the officer kicking the boy, said interim Chief Gary Jones.
“I don’t know if (he) was one of the primary aggressors. That’s something the investigation will determine,” Jones said.
Jasmine Hernandez Cervera, who recorded and posted the video, said the fight was underway when she turned around and began recording it.
“I don’t know what was the cause of the fight,” she said. “I turned around right in the middle of it. I don’t know the kids who were involved. I was coincidently a bystander.”
Police are asking anyone with video of the incident to provide it, including Cervera, Jones said.
Cervera may have an unedited version of the video on her phone, Jones said, which would be helpful to police.
“Anytime you only see a snippet of a video, you’ve got to look at the totality of what was going on — what was going on around the officer,” Jones said. “With a very short amount of video, it doesn’t give us all the information.”
There were no injuries reported in the fight and those who were sprayed with mace were treated at the scene, Jones said.
Investigations into police use of force include three steps; a field supervisor first reviews the incident and all officer reports, then forwards the findings to a watchman for a similar review to ensure there’s no missing information. After that, it goes before a division supervisor — Jones in this case — for a final determination.
Jones didn’t know how long the department’s investigation into the officer’s actions would take.