Two Ohio police officers are under investigation after a witness filmed a cop viciously punch a Black woman in the face while making an arrest.
The video came to light on Tuesday, when local news outlet Dayton 24/7 posted footage on Facebook showing a Butler Township officer repeatedly punching the woman.
In the clip, two police officers can be seen standing in front of their police cruiser in a parking lot while moving to restrain the woman, identified by her attorney’s office as Latinka Hancock.
At the beginning of the footage, which has no sound, Hancock can be seen speaking to the officers as she tries to push them away. A cop on the left appears to be pointing a stun gun in his right hand at Hancock, while an officer to the right holds her arm and shoulder. At one point, Hancock appears to wave her hands around, and the cop on the right punches her in the face multiple times until Hancock falls back on the hood of the cruiser. The officers then hold Hancock against the car as one of them handcuffs her.
The Butler Township Police Department, based in Dayton, acknowledged the cops’ use of force in a Facebook post, revealing that an investigation has been launched.
“We are aware of the video recorded by a bystander that is circulating on Facebook concerning an incident that occurred on January 16, 2023, involving two of our officers,” the Tuesday post read. “This incident is currently under investigation in accordance with departmental policies and procedures, as is the case whenever force is used in an arrest.”
“Part of that investigation also involves thoroughly reviewing videos taken by the cruiser and the officers’ bodycams,” the statement continued. “The department is in the process of reviewing those videos, which will be provided to the public after departmental review.”
The video quickly gained traction on social media, where critics blasted the cops’ behavior.
“Has this officer been arrested yet?” a community member commented on Facebook. “NO BADGE MAKES YOU ABOVE THE LAW! …NOTHING will make this behavior acceptable or LEGAL. Butler Twp residents cannot feel safe with this abusive monster on the payroll.”
This is the Butler Township Police Department in Dayton, Ohio.
Police Chief John Porter confirmed that the police will be investigating themselves. pic.twitter.com/Qwu1Ns6uat
— Champion City Hate Watch (@ChampionCityHW) January 17, 2023
“This lady is clearly [un]able to move whatsoever she clearly points at her shoe so she can put it on,” another Facebook user wrote. “They have both of her hands and the officer punched her for no reason. … I am SO SICK of these certain racist white cops thinking they can do whatever the hell they want!”
“The video speaks volumes‼️ This is gross abuse of power! Truly disgraceful!” someone posted under the Facebook video.
Others social media users placed blame on Hancock, saying she was resisting arrest.
“Funny that so many are jumping to conclusions that what he did was wrong without the full facts,” said former law officer and Dayton small business owner Joshua Arms. “Can you see what she was doing with her hands? Did she grab for his taser or weapon? If so, it was justified. Until the body cams and other available footage is available, we won’t know, as this view doesn’t show everything. So, for all the back seat police officers and Monday morning quarterbacks, calm yourselves down for a bit.”
Ryan Julison, the media contact for Hancock’s attorney, told The Daily Beast in a written statement that the incident happened after Hancock received an incorrect order from McDonald’s. Julison wrote that Hancock tried to rectify the issue with restaurant employees, who ended up calling the police on her.
“According to her attorney…as Hancock was leaving the restaurant, Butler Township police officers confronted her and during the incident she was punched repeatedly in the head, sending her to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a head injury,” Julison wrote.
According to WHIO-TV Dayton, Butler Township police will release the bodycam footage and video from the police cruiser during a press conference later Wednesday.
The press team for Hancock’s attorney told The Daily Beast that his office will release a public statement following the police presser.