A white Pennsylvania police officer called a woman a “ghetto girl” as she and other witnesses questioned why a burglary suspect had to be aggressively detained, video shows.
The footage — recorded Monday by a bystander and later posted to YouTube — shows two Reading cops restraining a male suspect in the street, with one officer sitting atop his waist.
“You can’t just put him in a car?” one onlooker asks the officers.
“This is the only way I can hold him down so he doesn’t get hurt,” one cop replies as the suspect wails. “I know it’s uncomfortable.”
Another witness then interjects and tells the officer to “get off” the man’s chest, prompting the cop to say he can’t because the suspect would run away, video shows.
A third officer then approaches the man and tells him to “shut up” and move along.
“Get out of here or you’re going!” the third cop says. “Do you want to go?”
One woman pleads with the officer to “relax” before another female witness yells a racial epithet at the white officer, calling him a “cracker,” video shows.
The cop responds by calling the woman a “ghetto girl,” according to the clip.
“Yeah, come on, shut up, ghetto girl,” the masked officer says. “Get back to the ghetto! Get back to the ghetto!”
The city’s mayor, Eddie Moran, issued a statement Tuesday vowing an investigation into the charged exchange, the Reading Eagle reported.
“In that video, a patrol officer appears to be engaged in conduct that is contrary to my goals, along with the department’s, of engaging our community in a positive way,” the statement read.
The probe will include a review of the officers’ bodycams, as well as any other relevant footage, Moran said.
Police said Yonathan Marte-Nunez, 20, and Keichmary Santos-Cortes, 19, were detained at the scene after a man reported finding them in a home where he went to do repairs.
An officer arrested the pair on burglary and criminal trespass charges after determining they didn’t have permission to be in the home, arrest affidavits show.
One of the arresting officers, Joshua Faust, took Marte-Nunez to a police vehicle, but he allegedly tried to run away.
The officer kept a grip on Marte-Nunez’s arm, causing him to fall and the officer to hit his head on a concrete step, cutting his forehead, police said.
Marte-Nunez was also wanted on prior burglary charges, the Reading Eagle reported.
He was arraigned Monday on new counts of burglary, criminal trespass and escape before being ordered to Berks County Prison on $100,000 bail, the newspaper reported.
Santos-Cortes was also charged with burglary and criminal trespass. She was released after posting $15,000 bail, according to the report.