A criminal investigation was launched after a viral video showed a Seattle police officer wheeled his bike over the head of a Black Lives Matter protester on Capitol Hill on Wednesday night.
The prone protester—who was called the “trumpet man” by some people in the crowd—was seen wearing a white helmet and lying face down on the ground as a form of protest. The police officer then ran with his bike and intentionally rolled both of his bike tires over the victim’s head and neck.
The man had lain on the road earlier in the evening as part of the demonstration, but other officers went around to get past him as they pushed into the crowds.
The widespread protests followed the announcement of a Kentucky jury clearing the Louisville police officers charged for the shooting of unarmed 26-year-old Breonna Taylor.
The bike incident was captured by several witnesses, but the footage widely circulating online was from a Facebook Livestream filmed by independent journalist CJ Halliburton.
Some shares of the video assumed the protester was injured.
The same officer proceeded to ram his bike into another protester who approached him.
Another witness, Joey Wieser, posted a video of the same incident and was heard yelling:
“That officer ran over that person’s head with their bicycle wheel.”
“The police officer had enough time to divert his path away from the protester’s neck … and chose to run him over anyway.”
Chris Rojas—a journalist for Seattle Gay News and Converge Media—shared footage from another angle.
The Seattle Police Department (SPD) acknowledged they were aware of the viral video and issued the following statement:
“This matter will be referred to the Office of Police Accountability for further investigation.”
The Seattle Times said the civilian-led Office of Police Accountability (OPA) requested a criminal investigation of the incident.
OPA director Andrew Myerberg the incident was cited for:
“potential violations of SPD policy, as well as potential criminal conduct.”
A spokesperson for the OPA said the SPD agreed to an outside law enforcement agency to conduct the investigation.
People were outraged over the video.
According to Buzzfeed News, the police department and the OPA disclosed the identity of neither the officer with the bike nor the victim in the video.
It is unclear if the protester was injured, but spokespeople for the Seattle Fire Department and Harborview Medical Center confirmed he was never treated.
The Seattle Times reported that the protester was arrested for “on investigation of failure to disperse and obstruction.”