Video of officer kicking teen sparks outrage, police investigation

September 26, 2018 - 12:24 pm

YAKIMA, WA (1010 WINS) -- Police in Washington State are responding to outrage over a video of an officer kicking and pepper-spraying a teen during a group fight at a state fair. 

Video of the encounter between a Yakima Police officer and a reported high school student was posted to Facebook late Sunday night and had been viewed nearly 300,000 times by Wednesday afternoon. Yakima is about 150 miles southeast of Seattle.

The video shows a group of teens scuffling near a ride at the Central Washington State Fair before one of them staggers away from an officer, who then kicks the teen in the back. 

Jasmin Hernandez Cervera, who shot the video, tells 1010 WINS she was waiting in line for food when she turned around and saw the fight. She says she hit record just as the officer arrived and discharged the pepper spray and kicked the teen. 

By the end of the video, the teen is lying on the ground and holding his face as two officers stand over him.

Yakima Police released a statement Monday saying it had opened a use of force investigation into Sunday night's incident. 

In the statement posted to Facebook, Interim Chief of Police Gary Jones acknowledged that the officer used force “while effecting an arrest.”

“Maintaining public trust is one of our highest priorities, and in doing so, investigators will be collecting all available evidence as it pertains to a use of force review,” Jones wrote.

Nearly 400 people had responded to the department’s Facebook post by Wednesday, with some supporting the officer’s action and others decrying it.

“The cop needs to get fired,” one user wrote. “Young punk needs to learn to follow the rules,” wrote another user.

Police haven’t released the teen's age or said if he was charged. A witness told ABC News he’s a student at Wapato High School in Wapato, Washington.

The teen’s attorney said the officer’s actions were “abusive and unacceptable,” according to the Yakima Herald, which reported that four teens were arrested after the fight.