A Philadelphia police officer shown on video punching a teenage girl is on desk duty pending a review of her actions, which were allegedly prompted by the girl striking her on the face.
The 16-year-old girl was arrested on a charge of assaulting a police officer, but on Tuesday the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office declined to file the charge, a spokesman said.
Now it’s just the officer —caught on camera taking the teenage girl to the pavement and straddling her while raining down blows —who is under investigation. She has been assigned to desk duty pending the results of an Internal Affairs investigation, police said.
“The young lady admitted to knocking the officers’ glasses off and hitting her in the face,” said Lt. John Stanford, spokesman for the police department. “I don’t think any police commissioner would want to see their officers engaged in what you see in that video. However, policing is not always as pretty as we want it to be.”
The fracas occurred at about 2:45 p.m. Monday in the aftermath of a what police described as a massive brawl involving about 30 teens and adults near 54th and Springfield streets.
Cellphone videos show police officers attempting to break up the altercation, before a female officer is seen confronting the teenage girl. Authorities say the teen was trying to interfere with officers making an arrest.
This video contains explicit language.
Asa Khalif, a Philly-based Black Lives Matter organizer, said after watching the videos that he thinks blame for the incident lies solely on the officer.
“We want her off the streets,” he said. “What she did, that police officer, it went beyond arrest and it went into assault. She could have de-escalated that and really mentored that young child, instead of beating the s— out of her.”
Khalif vowed to organize protests if the officer is returned to active duty.
“The 16-year-old is an underage child,” he said. “You should charge the adult, who is old enough and trained enough to know better and supposed to be a professional.”
The teen was transported to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for complaints of neck pain. The officer sustained bruising to her right eye and cheek with abrasions to the right knee but declined treatment.
The girl was identified asJohnnae Pendleton by 6ABC.She told the TV station, “I am happy that it was caught on video because if it wasn’t, I would have been charged and I would’ve been in a youth study center or something.”
Police did not report any other arrests stemming from the fight.