Tuscon police are investigating an officer who was captured on video appearing to knock down a female student and sending her flying into a metal bench during a riot last weekend near the University of Arizona campus.
The cell phone video that has logged more than 85,000 views on YouTube shows an incident Saturday night following the school’s loss to the University of Wisconsin, eliminating them from the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament.
The female student, who has not been publicly identified, goes flying backward over a metal bench after she appears to be tackled by a cop in riot police gear.
Tucson Police Department spokesman Chris Widmer told ABC News today that its internal affairs office has been made aware of the video and they are in contact with the victim. The identity of the police officer is unknown at this time, police said, and no charges were filed against the girl who was pushed.
Phoebe Landolt said she witnessed the incident and said her friend is the one who shot the now infamous video.
“Out of nowhere we see this cop come up and just level her,” she told Good Morning America in a Skype interview. “She wasn’t looking around, she wasn’t antagonizing anybody.”
Other media outlets have identified Landolt as the one who took the video.
The girl in the video didn’t appear to be doing anything wrong, Landolt said. “There was no warning, they weren’t telling us anything — the girl just got knocked over out of the blue.”
An “unlawful assembly” occurred at a recreational area directly west of the University of Alabama’s campus on Friday night around 8:45 p.m. MT, a spokesperson for the University of Arizona said.
About 50 Tucson officers, wearing riot gear as a precautionary measure, reported to the scene to address the situation, the spokesperson told ABC News. Students were chanting as a group and when some students threw bottles, the police moved in to control the crowd, the spokesperson said.
According to a tweet by University of Arizona newspaper Daily Wildcat, the crowd chanted “They can’t take us all” and “Don’t fall back.”
The majority of the crowd did not respond to the dispersal order and began throwing beer bottles, beer cans and firecrackers at the officers, the Tucson Police Department said in a statement.
The officers used a variety of means to deal with the unruly crowd, according to the statement, including two Arwenn rounds, four foam baton rounds, nine OC vapor aerosol canisters and approximately 200 individual pepper ball rounds.
There were 15 misdemeanor arrests — 14 of the individuals were cited and released, while one was booked into the Pima County Jail, police said. The arrests included charges such as unlawful assembly, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Three of those arrested sustained minor injuries from the incident, police said.
University of Arizona officials said in a statement that “It is disappointing that a minority of Wildcat fans chose to engage in behavior that does not reflect the culture of the University of Arizona and Tucson communities.”
“Our basketball team had a great season and they exhibited exceptional class at every turn,” the statement went on to say. “They do not deserve the bad actions of these others. As with all incidents, University students engaged in behavior that violates our Student Code of Conduct will be held accountable.”