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FOP: Photo Proves Officer's Actions Were Justified In Pride Fest Incident

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The 14-second video shocked the city; a young woman allegedly getting punched and beaten by a Pittsburgh Police officer during Pride Fest last month.

But what caused Officer Sorouth Chatterji to react so violently to 19-year-old Ariel Lawther?

The Fraternal Order of Police have now released a picture of the confrontation between the officer and the woman, taken moments before the 14-second video.

"She clearly knows that he is a police officer here. Second, she's grabbing his left hand, and as you can see, her right hand is on his other hand," said FOP Vice President Jim Glick. "This is a confrontation that has to be controlled, immediately."

Glick says he believes the photo clearly indicates the officer had to react quickly, for his safety and the safety of others.

He says the FOP believes the officer did nothing wrong, and reacted the way he was trained.

"You have to remember that the 14 seconds that was shown, prior to this, it's an ugly 14 seconds; but unfortunately, sometimes our job requires that," said Glick. "I hope it shows the administration and the public that police officers react to situations that they're put in. We don't wake up in the morning and decide, 'Hey, today, I'm going to get into a fight with a girl at a parade.'"

Lawther was charged with aggravated assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

Officer Chatterji was assigned to desk duty for 30 days while the Office of Municipal Investigations looks into the incident.

Right now, his status remains unknown, but the FOP thinks the picture will prove the city overreacted.

"I believe they did. We'll see where they go from here," Glick said. "I would like to think this is the end of the situation, and that Officer Chatterji should be exonerated, fully."

Lawther's lawyer calls the FOP's release of that photo irresponsible, and says the case shouldn't be resolved in the court of public opinion.

Pride Fest Video Shows Officer Allegedly Assaulting Woman (6/16/14)
More Reports by Bob Allen

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