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.
Cop rides his bicycle directly over the top of an injured man’s head.
Trump’s America… pic.twitter.com/JN2h8bZnjs
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) September 24, 2020
The same officer proceeded to ram his bike into another protester who approached him.
WTF??? Let me guess, they didn't see the adult-sized BODY in all white clothing on black pavement?? It was 100% intentional, and he even used his bike to hit a guy that approached right after. Wow. Charges and firing, now!
— Emjay. Pass the Stimulus, THEN worry about SCOTUS! (@OhHiEmjay) September 24, 2020
He purposely ran over the guys neck -that’s how you kill someone with a bicycle
— ignatzfattis (@ignatzfattis) September 24, 2020
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.
View this post on Instagram
An officer from the SPD bike patrol ran over @trumpetmanmusic ‘s head during last nights protest. @joeywieser was on the other side and filmed a more clear view. Check out his livestreams for footage of the full night. The lack of charges for police officers in Breonna Taylor’s case led to protests nationwide Wednesday night including multiple protests and vigils across Seattle. #SeattleProtest #policeaccountability #breonnataylor #seattlemarch #policebrutality #excessiveforce #blm #blacklivesmatter
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.
We are beginning to turn into a Third World country. Another four years of Trump equals another four years of suffering and continued instability. #TrumpChaos #TrumpViolence #TrumpRiots pic.twitter.com/LzWxJS8dZ2
— Donnie Loves Chachi (@JUConnor25) September 24, 2020
Things you would not do even to a dog. One day this will be considered the equivalent to Nazi concentration camps. Shameful
— Martins (@martins_______) September 24, 2020
Cop pushed his bike over his head on purpose, then his another protester with his bike. Laying down is peacefully protesting! WTF with this abuse of power! No wonder their is so much hate towards cops. Guilt by association! All watched nobody made sure he was okay! Not okay!
— virgie trask (@virgiecakes) September 24, 2020
@GLFOP Another fine example of police forces in third world country amurrika.
— RG_Hathway (@RgHathway) September 24, 2020
This is what facisum looks like.
— “.” (@farshe) September 24, 2020
This is Trump’s Law & Order?! WTF… this Country is in Turmoil and he’s the trigger.😡🤬
— Jennifer Talton-Wright🌸 (@TopShelfMommy1) September 24, 2020
The same people that cry about the human dignity of an embryo will see nothing wrong here 🤔
— Joey Mills (@JoeyMil55334744) September 24, 2020
Wtf has happened to this country/ humanity. This is horrible.
— oneworld🌍❄️🌊 (@boofy1970) September 24, 2020
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.”