The Pennsylvania state police are conducting an internal investigation into a viral video that shows a trooper taking an Altoona teen into custody.
The video, initially shared on Facebook by the teen's father and shared more than 1,200 times with more then 37,000 views, appears to show physical contact between the trooper and the teen while the teen is in handcuffs.
"An internal investigation is being conducted to determine the facts and circumstances around the video," Trooper David McGarvey, spokesman for Troop G in Hollidaysburg, said in a statement.
In the video, the trooper can be seen handcuffing the teen, who had just been located on Friday after running away, behind the back and searching him.
The teen then says something, inaudible on camera, that visibly upsets the trooper. The trooper then grabs a hold of the front of the teen's sweatshirt and asks "What did you say?"
As the trooper lets go of the teen's sweatshirt, he raises his flashlight above the teen's head. Then there appears to be physical contact between the trooper and the teen. The video depicts the teen moving close to the trooper's face, after which it appears the trooper responds by striking the teen.
"You don't f---ing hit me," the trooper is heard saying.
"I didn't hit you," the teen said in response.
A second trooper then comes onscreen and can be heard saying, "Congratulations, you just got yourself a felony."
As a result, the teen was charged with criminal attempt at aggravated assault for allegedly headbutting the officer, according to his mother, Tricia Reed.
"My perspective is that my son is being falsely charged and this officer is the one who needs to have aggravated assault charges, because he was handcuffed, and dodged the first blow the officer was trying to inflict on him," Reed told the Centre Daily Times. "If you're going to headbutt somebody, there's going to be some force in your body, and that was never the case. I think it's abuse of authority, and I think it's a huge travesty. I'm just outraged."
Reed said they have not yet filed an official police complaint, and were waiting to take action until after meeting with the family's attorney on Monday. She did however, say that complaints have been filed with the ACLU and the Philadelphia-based juvenile law center.
The teen's father provided the video but declined to comment.