A video circulating on social media depicts a North Carolina police officer repeatedly striking a Black woman during an arrest, while several other officers hold her down. The incident occurred when Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers approached a man and woman who were smoking marijuana at a bus stop on Monday. As the officers began to arrest the man, the woman interfered, leading to a struggle. According to police, the woman hit an officer multiple times. In response, an officer struck the woman several times to gain compliance, targeting specific areas as part of his training.
The video shows four officers kneeling and restraining the woman as a fifth officer repeatedly strikes her with a closed fist. Bystanders can be heard shouting at the officers to stop. After a few seconds, the officers stand up and lead the woman to a squad SUV with her arms behind her back.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings acknowledged the public outrage surrounding the incident, stating that he understands the emotions evoked by the video. He emphasized the need for the internal investigation to proceed and mentioned the possibility of other agencies conducting their own probes.
The officer involved in the incident, identified as Vincent Pistone, has been temporarily reassigned from the patrol division to investigations. The department’s internal affairs bureau is currently investigating the matter. The woman, a 24-year-old Black resident of Charlotte, has been charged with assault on a government official, resisting officers, and marijuana possession.
The Bojangles restaurant chain confirmed that the man and woman involved in the incident were employees at a nearby location. The company expressed shock and sadness over the video and pledged full cooperation with any investigation.
Chief Jennings acknowledged that the optics of the incident were unfavorable and stated that it should not have happened. He questioned whether the officers should have initiated arrests for marijuana use and whether the woman should have interfered with the man’s arrest and struck officers.
The release of body camera footage is pending, as North Carolina law requires a court order for its public release. The department has petitioned the court to allow the release of the footage.