Police Union: Video Shows Woman Attacked Officer
More pictures and video have surfaced showing what happened before a city officer punched a woman at the city's gay pride parade and festival last month, which the city's police union contends show the officer was justified.
Fraternal Order of Police attorney Bryan Campbell told The Associated Press on Monday the other images show Ariel Lawther, 19, of Harmony, pushing a preacher protesting the event before she grabbed, pushed and struck the officer she accuses of wrongfully striking her.
The Delta Foundation, a local group that advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, asked police to investigate the officer's actions after a friend of Lawther's posted a 14-second video showing Officer Souroth Chatterji grabbing Lawther's hair and punching her repeatedly in the side.
Some of the new video came from a bank surveillance camera about a half-block from the incident on June 15. A professional photographer also took several stills that show Lawther grabbing the officer and struggling to keep from being handcuffed, Campbell said.
"You'll notice the blows he struck were to the body, to get her arms down, so he can get her handcuffed and get her under control," Campbell said. "In this particular case he felt striking her would overcome her resistance and, in fact, it did."
Lawther faces a preliminary hearing Aug. 11 on charges including aggravated assault - for allegedly fighting with the officer - and simple assault, for allegedly pushing the preacher.
"What's clear from the video is you see this girl assault one of the preachers," Campbell said. "You see clearly, and he's a pretty substantial guy, but she must have bull rushed him because he's knocked back."
Campbell said Chatterji was specifically tasked with keeping hostilities from escalating between those who supported the parade - like Lawther - and those protesting it.