A viral video of alleged police brutality by a Mesa police officer doesn't show the entire encounter between the officer and a teenage girl.
The video, which has been shared on Facebook more than 120,000 times at the time of this post, appears to show the officer throwing a blow at the girl before taking her to the ground.
"Just watched mesa PD punch a 15 year old girl in the face 2 times she was a runaway is this rely how we treat emotionally unstable teens?" the owner of the video posted on Facebook. "The cops wanted to delete this off my phone share the fuck out of this shit."
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According to Mesa Police Detective Esteban Flores, the girl kicked the officer and punched her in the face first, which wasn't captured on the video.
"Two other independent witnesses gave statements that corroborated the officer's account," Flores tells New Times. "The teen also admitted to striking the officer first by kicking her then punching her in the face."
We also asked Flores about the allegation from the owner of the video that police tried to get him to delete the video, which Flores says is untrue.
"Officers absolutely did not ask the witness to delete the video," he says. "That particular witness was uncooperative and refused to show police the video saying he was having some type of technical difficulties. When contacted later by phone, he was still uncooperative with police request to get a copy of the video for the investigation. Investigating officers overheard the witness saying he wanted to get the video on social media to illustrate police brutality. That individual then posted it on social media and sent it in to a local news affiliate."
Some Mesa police officers do wear body cameras, which have provided much better looks at situations in the past, but police say this officer didn't have one in this case.
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Additionally, although not all of the encounter is captured in the video, a lot of the media attention focuses on the girl's cry of, "I can't breathe," similar to the cries of Eric Garner, who died earlier this year after being placed in a choke-hold by police in New York.
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