Police in Washington, DC have reportedly opened an internal investigation after a shocking video surfaced showing a black woman struggling against police officers who had pinned her against a squad car and lifted her completely off the ground.
The footage, posted to Twitter on August 15 by user MacAndCheeks, begins with the woman already pressed to the side of a DC police SUV by a white officer. As the camera pans to the side, it becomes clear that the woman's feet are dangling several inches in the air.
While it's unclear what prompted the encounter, at one point the officer holding the woman can be heard exclaiming "yes you did, I saw it." A series of subsequent videos posted by MacAndCheeks show the woman was released without being arrested.
The woman in the footage, who declined to be identified, spoke with a local Fox News affiliate and said she was stopped by the police while arguing with a man she claimed was engaged in street harassment toward another woman. She also alleged that the officers left her after the incident without identifying themselves.
"It was harassment and I asked for the police officer's badge - they wouldn't give me no names, no numbers or nothing - so I left," she said. "I never knew this was being recorded."
The original footage of the incident has been retweeted thousands of times since it was posted. It comes during a summer in which relations between black communities and law enforcement have been particularly tense following the killings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota, as well as a blistering critique of the Baltimore Police Department by the U.S. Department of Justice which was published in August.
A day after posting footage of the non-arrest, MacAndCheeks shared a short interview with the woman she claims was depicted in her initial video, identifying her as "Shadon," and clarifying some misconceptions about the clip.
"I'm a school teacher, and I work out here, and I help these little girls all day, every day. So there's no reason for you to assume that somebody's out here doing the wrong thing. And most definitely when I'm in uniform," Shadon explained.
"And I'm not a little girl, I'm 32," she added "I just look good for my age, thank you."
According to Shadon, she was detained because police believed she was a prostitute.
A spokesperson for the Washington DC police department told the Washington Post that "we’ve been made aware of the video and contacted [the officers'] commanding officer." If the officers are found to have done something wrong, the spokesperson promised, "they will be held accountable."