Investigation underway after video shows confrontation between Reading police officer and residents

Witnesses say residents confronted Reading police officers during what they viewed as an aggressive arrest and it escalated quickly. At one point, one officer is heard saying, "Yeah come on, shut up ghetto girl."

Samantha Lopez, who recorded the video, hopes it's taken seriously.

"I found it so disrespectful and so unnecessary," she told FOX 29.

Lopez says she pressed record after she and her two neighbors witnessed three Reading police officers arresting a man involved in an incident at 11th and Spruce streets just before 1 p.m. Monday.

Police would not say why the man was under arrest, but the group says it seemed too aggressive.

"I could've ignored it. She could've ignored it, but I tell you one thing we keep on ignoring the situation it's never going to end," Raheem Harper said.

The conversation seems civil at first, however, Lopez says as Raheem Harper voices his concerns one of the officers runs toward him and pushes.

"I was there recording and I was close but they did not target me at all," Lopez said.

The situation escalates and Harper says his wife comes to his defense, calling the officer a slur.

"Yeah come on, shut up ghetto girl," the officer is heard saying. "Go back to the ghetto, go back to the ghetto."

There’s a lot of yelling and profanity back and forth. At one point, the officer appears to touch his body camera.

"I know the stuff that I was saying, it could've been inappropriate and I do apologize for that but it was just out of anger and fear at the same time," Ortiz said.

Eventually, a fourth officer arrives to intervene and the nearly three and a half minute video ends.

In a press release Tuesday, Mayor Eddie Moran said the video shows a patrol officer engaged in conduct contrary to his goals and the police department's goals of engaging the community in a positive way.

He says the department's office of professional standards is conducting a thorough investigation that will also look at officers' body worn cameras.

He added, "I have made it abundantly clear that I will not tolerate any offensive behavior nor comments as they relate to our residents."

The FOP released the following statement: "The Fraternal Order of Police takes allegations of misconduct seriously. Our role is to ensure the due process of our members. We have been appropriately notified of the pending investigation and will work with the City Administration."


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