DC Councilman Charles Allen and several other members have expressed their concerns regarding a video, in which Metro Transit Police officers are seen restraining a Black woman reportedly experiencing homelessness.
The video was posted on YouTube by a user, who claims that the officers knocked out one of the woman’s teeth “after she’s threatened by a random man on the metro.”
“Incidents like this one are exactly why WMATA needs a civilian-led review board that can investigate and review any incident involving Metro Transit Police officers and the public,” Allen said in a statement.
The Ward 6 council member emphasized the need for “a neutral body” to review the incident via a rapid and transparent process.
DC Transit Police knock tooth out of unhoused woman after she was the one being threatened of being stabbed. Video – Trigger warning: https://t.co/0lwZ0sthKL
— ChuckModi (@ChuckModi1) April 6, 2021
Ward 1 council member Brianne Nadeau and At-Large council member Robert White also weighed in on the video over Twitter.
The incident took place on the Red Line platform at the Gallery Place-Chinatown station at around 7 pm on Saturday, April 3. Deadspin reporter Chuck Modi shared a witness’ account on his Twitter page.
This is a disturbing video. I spoke to Chief Pavlik this evening. This incident is still under investigation. I urge all witnesses to contact @wmata police. If you have any trouble doing so, I will help. There is a clear need for body worn cameras. https://t.co/WODCbSYTD5
— Robert C. White, Jr. (@RobertWhite_DC) April 7, 2021
The witness says they noticed “an eccentric, small, seemingly homeless Black woman talking to herself.”
“I lingered to make sure no one harassed her and surely enough a man approached her and began yelling at her. I heard him threaten to stab her, so I intervened and made it clear that nobody was going to be getting stabbed. He then threatened to stab me too,” they wrote.
“While the man and I were arguing, four transit police ran to grab the homeless woman who was doing nothing different than she was before the man accosted her; pacing and talking to herself. I began filming after I saw her on the ground underneath four police officers, with a fifth running to put his weight on her as well,” the post continued.
Thanks for flagging this incident. This is unacceptable. Working on getting in touch with the appropriate officials to get answers.
— Brianne K. Nadeau (@BrianneKNadeau) April 7, 2021
Officials told the media that the officers got involved after the woman behaved erratically, screamed at passengers, and physically assaulted an officer, adding that she got injured in the mouth and OC spray was deployed during the restraining.