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A violent viral video circulating online shows a Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) officer repeatedly striking a woman over 20 times. Christina Pierre was pinned and pummeled to the ground by a Charlotte cop outside of a Bojangles fast food restaurant.
The officer can be seen repeatedly striking her body and head as she screams and struggles. Multiple witnesses can be heard pleading with the officers present to intervene to no avail.
What really happened?
On Tuesday, she, along with her friend, Anthony Lee were reportedly smoking marijuana at a bus stop. The 24-year-old had just finished her shift at Bojangles and reportedly sparked up with Lee.
It is reported that a police officer then noticed and approached them both.
Subsequently, officials claim Pierre struck the officer once they were told they were being arrested for smoking marijuana.
Contradicting their statement, an eyewitness told Queen City News it was in fact the officer who “punched her like he would a man.”
Furthermore, the witness then stated Pierre “hit the ground and that’s where she stayed until the rest of the officers showed up.”
Though their alleged body cam version of events are not captured on the available footage, which is expected to take months to be released by the courts, the community has already seen enough.
Prolonged and private police investigations erode community trust by the day
Meanwhile, Black folks have historically witnessed internal investigations allow U.S. police departments space to manufacture timelines and coordinate narratives. Three years on the job, the Queen City can only hope Charlotte’s top cop is not overseeing the same vicious cycle.
Black police chief defends white Charlotte cop while admitting they can “do better”
CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings has pled with outraged citizens.
“If I look at this entire thing, are there things that we can do better? Absolutely. Are the things that I wish would have never happened? Certainly. Are there things that I think we can take from this and become better as an agency? We’re committed to that. And we’re going to do that,” Jennings said.
Though his calming words can only offer but so much solace given the savage nature of the assault tied to an endless thread of U.S. police brutality.
Further, Jennings also claimed the officer’s body cam was knocked off during the initial part of the struggle in which Pierre was the aggressor.
CMPD says Charlotte cop “was not trying to hurt her”
Placing himself in the officer’s shoes, Jennings remarked, “I’ve been in those exact situations. I’ve been in struggles with men, women, white, black. These are difficult situations and all I ask is we continue to let this investigation internally play out.”
CMPD spokesperson Mike Allinger said that Pierre had punched the officer’s face and that both individuals reportedly refused arrest.
“The officer was intentional about where the strikes were made,” Allinger said. “He was using force to gain compliance. He was not trying to hurt her.”
The officer’s violent barrage speaks to a racialized and traumatizing attacks Black women have experienced for years regardless of the city, cop, or circumstance.
Watching Black people get assaulted is not good for your mental health
Whether the victim or viewer, Black people being physically assaulted is not and has never been normal altogether.
A first-ever study in 2018 found that a police killing of an unarmed Black American triggered days of poor mental health for Black people living in that state over the following three months — a significant problem given there are about 1,000 police killings annually on average, with Black Americans comprising a disproportionate 25 percent to 30 percent of those.
The accumulation of painful days over the course of a year was comparable to the rate experienced by diabetics, according to the study’s author, David R. Williams, Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health and chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The incident is also likely to have a legal impact
Pierre has filed a lawsuit against the city of Charlotte.
Moreover, the lawsuit alleges that the officer used excessive force and that the city failed to properly train its officers.
The 37-year-old Lee is charged with carrying a concealed firearm, resist/delay/obstruct and simple possession of marijuana.
Pierre was arrested and charged with assault on a government official, resist/delay/obstruct, and simple possession of marijuana.
The incident is being further investigated by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau.
The officer involved has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
The Black Wall Street Times has reached out CMPD for comment.
The court hearing on the release for recordings will take place on Nov. 30.