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North Carolina police department defends actions of officer seen in video striking woman several times while attempting arrest

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By Jamiel Lynch and Jillian Sykes, CNN

(CNN) — Police in Charlotte, North Carolina, have initiated an internal affairs investigation after an incident captured on video that shows an officer repeatedly striking a woman, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said in a statement posted on X.

In the video posted on social media, the woman is seen on the ground as several officers are holding her down. One officer is seen striking the woman multiple times, while a bystander screams, “Get off her!” and others criticize officers’ actions. The woman is later brought to her feet and led to a police vehicle.

The incident comes amid recent nationwide scrutiny of police use of force, sparked by the release of bodycam footage by police departments or bystander videos posted on social media that show several cases where interactions with police resulted in death or injury.

The encounter in Charlotte began Monday afternoon as officers were responding to a service call for a suspicious person, a police report said. When the officers arrived, they approached two people who were smoking marijuana, the statement from the department said.

“When officers approached the individuals, the female subject punched an officer in the face,” the statement said.

A struggle ensued and the woman began lying on her hands and did not allow officers to arrest her, the statement said.

“One officer threw multiple strikes to the female subjects right thigh and ‘Stop resisting’ was stated several times,” the statement continued. “After several repeated verbal commands, an officer struck the female subject seven times with knee strikes and 10 closed fist strikes to the peroneal nerve in the thigh to try to gain compliance. The officer was intentional about where the strikes were made.

“These are tense situations that have the potential to escalate quickly. Police use of force is never easy to watch. Officers are trained to strike large muscle groups in order to gain compliance during an arrest,” the statement added.

No action has been taken against the officers involved in the confrontation as the internal investigation continues, police told CNN.

The woman in the video was arrested and charged with assault on a government official, resist/delay/obstruct and possession of marijuana, police told CNN. A man arrested on the scene was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, resist/delay/obstruct and possession of marijuana, police added.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings has viewed the body-worn camera video of the incident and believes “it tells more of the story than what is circulating on social media,” he said in a statement posted on X.

“When individuals physically assault officers and refuse to comply with police and when they resist arrest, officers must physically engage with them to safely take them into custody,” he continued.

The public deserves to view the body-worn camera video, but it cannot be released without a judge’s order, per North Carolina state law, Jennings said.

“I have asked for our police attorney to file a petition with the court so we are able to share this video with the public,” he added.

Police did not identify the two people arrested in the incident, but fast-food chain Bojangles said they are both employees.

“Like many other Charlotteans, we were shocked and saddened by the video of an incident between Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police and a Bojangles employee. While we wait to learn more of the details of what led to the incident, we plan to cooperate fully with any investigation,” a spokesperson for Bojangles said in a statement to CNN.  “We can confirm that the individual in the video and her partner had recently clocked out from their shifts at Bojangles and left the property. They both remain employed by Bojangles at this time.”

CNN’s Dianne Gallagher and Wes Bruer contributed to this report.

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