A photo of a Cleveland officer aiming his gun at two women has gone viral, and the department appears to be defending the cop's actions.
Allie Campbell posted the photo on Twitter and Reddit on Sunday, sparking a debate on when the use of force is needed during traffic stops.
“While walking there, I witnessed a woman rear end a truck then try to push past him. When [she] couldn’t, the woman driving got out. Behind them comes a Cleveland police officer on a motorcycle with his gun drawn, and the woman already had her hands up. He did not say anything, he just pointed the gun while still on the motorcycle," Ms Campbell told the Daily Dot.
JUST WITNESSED A CLEVELAND POLICE OFFICER PULL A GUN ON A WOMAN WHO GOT IN CAR ACCIDENT pic.twitter.com/8QG5Co9j93
— allaay (@allaaycamp) August 2, 2015
Many debated while some defended the officer's actions amid a statewide discussion of the use of force to prevent the killings of blacks at the hands of white police officers.
The Cleveland Police Department, in an unusually quick response, released the full report to Cleveland ABC 5 in order to justify the officer’s actions.
"As Sergeant Robert Bartos came to a stop, the driver's door began to open, alone and unaware of the driver's intentions with the motorcycle still running, and only the clutch and rear brake engaged, he drew his weapon and ordered the driver to stay in the car,” the report reads.
Officer Ali Pillow told Cleveland.com that the driver had previously been involved in hit-and-runs and as passengers began to flee the vehicle, he drew his weapon and ordered the women to remain inside the vehicle.
The Cleveland Police Department has been the topic of scrutiny in regards to a Department of Justice report claiming racial bias and brutality. In May, the department agreed to a settlement which would overhaul the department plagued by systemic racism and abusive force.