PITTSBURGH - Police are investigating after a video was posted online that appears to show a police officer assaulting a woman at an LGBT parade, reports CBS Pittsburgh.
According to the station, the incident occurred over the weekend in downtown Pittsburgh at the city's annual PrideFest celebration. Thousands were in attendance along the parade route when a fight allegedly broke out at an intersection between Ariel Lawther and a man reportedly making comments opposing the gay pride festival.
In his account of the situation, the accused officer states he made his way through the crowd in an effort to stop the fight. He alleges Lawther then kicked him in the groin, punched him several times and took a "combative stance."
The video appears to show the unidentified officer grabbing Lawther by the hair and punching her at least two times in the chest, CBS Pittsburgh reports. The officer claims the woman apologized to him after being placed in handcuffs.
"[She said], 'I'm sorry. I did not see you were a cop. I am sorry I hit you,'" the officer wrote in his report. He said he had spoken with Lawther earlier in the day and asked her "not to be so physically offensive toward the demonstrators."
The officer has been suspended while the investigation is being conducted, according to the station.
"All of these types of incidents will be reviewed and investigated very thoroughly and objectively without any predisposition on either side," said Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar. "This incidence has been referred to Office of Municipal Investigation for review. There's a process in place that triggers that in these types of incidents."
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said the officer will remain off the street for 30 days.
The Delta Foundation, which helped organize the Pride event, issued a statement saying they have contacted the U.S. Attorney General's office and plan to launch a potential hate crime investigation, CBS Pittsburgh reports.
According to the station, Lawther is facing a list of charges including aggravated assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.