Police in Tucson, Ariz., will conduct an investigation into a video that appears to show an officer knocking over a woman without pretext during Saturday’s post-NCAA tournament game riot.
In the aftermath of the University of Arizona’s 64-63 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday night, fans and students rioted in the streets around the school’s campus in Tucson. Local police donned riot gear and used pepper balls and pepper canisters to disperse the crowds, who responded by throwing beer bottles and firecrackers at officers, the Daily Wildcat, Arizona’s student newspaper, reports.
Several videos of the riot have emerged on social media, some of which depict alleged police brutality. In one such video, a police officer knocked over a woman that appeared to be passively walking through the crowd. According to Phoebe Landolt, the woman who shot the video, the officer’s actions were unwarranted.
"These girls had been trying to get to their car. The girl is on her phone not paying attention and this cop came out of nowhere and just leveled her," Landolt told the Arizona Daily Star. "After that everyone just started yelling and she started crying … We were just standing there checking out the scene and checking out what was happening, we were in an area that was safe.”
The video in which the officer knocked over the female Arizona fan did not provide a glimpse at what may or may not have occurred to warrant such an action, and the Tucson Police Department has yet to provide an explanation. However, a spokesperson, Sgt. Pete Dugan, told the Daily Star that police were aware of the video and that the incident would be reviewed by internal affairs.
In a separate interview with the Daily Wildcat, Dugan said that police resorted to the use of force after their dispersal order was ignored. “We gave the dispersal order several times, both in English and Spanish, telling everybody that the street had to be cleared,” Tucson Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Pete Dugan told the newspaper. “People were still refusing to leave, which at that point becomes a misdemeanor offense.”
Ultimately, police arrested 15 individuals in connection with the Arizona riot, nine of which are students at the university. The arrested individuals will face discipline in accordance with the university’s honor code.