Police in Virginia have come under fire after a video of two officers appearing to spit on a detained protester emerged on social media on Tuesday evening.
The video, which first appeared on Twitter, was captured during a demonstration on Monument Avenue, in downtown Richmond, during the fourth night of protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.
In the footage, a detained female protester is seen sitting in front of a group of 10 police officers with her hands bound behind her back.
One police officer appears to lean over and spit on the woman, as angered protesters watch on in disgust.
‘Yup, got that,’ one woman shouts, in referencing to capturing the moment on her cell phone. ‘We got that on Camera, a**-hole,’ screams another.
Unfazed by the jeers, the officer appears to repeat the action again, spitting down at the detained protester.
‘Hey, we see you,’ a woman says loudly, as the officer spits for a third time. Another officer stood to his right also appears to spit at the protester.
‘Got that one too,’ the woman recording the video shouts.
The Richmond Police Department were made aware of the footage on Tuesday and launched an investigation.
In a tweet, the department later denied the officers had spit on the protester, insisting the video is ‘not what it appears.’
The department said a ‘frame-by-frame analysis of a viral video that appears to show RPD officers spitting on a detained prisoner shows it did not happen as activists have claimed.’