First, he told the children to “back up.” Then he pointed his gun at them.
An El Paso, Texas, police officer has been placed on desk duty after a chaotic cellphone video of him pulling a gun on a group of children was posted to Facebook on Friday.
According to the El Paso Police Department, the officer was responding to a criminal trespass call in the area Thursday evening. The city and police department have begun an investigation into the incident and for the time being, the officer who pulled his gun has been placed on desk duty, according to Dionne Mack, the El Paso deputy city manager for public safety and support services.
A gun comes out and it’s captured on camera
A video of the incident, uploaded to Facebook by user Aj-king Stoner on Friday, has since been viewed almost 5 million times.
The camera begins rolling in the middle of an altercation in front of the Seville Community Center in El Paso, Texas, where a group of young children are shouting insults at a police officer who is holding a young man against a fence. He tells the other the children to “back up, mother******” and pulls his gun out, pointing it at them for a moment before putting it back in his holster.
All the while, he is pinning the boy’s head against a stone column with his knee. The young man repeatedly says: “He just assaulted me.”
Over cries of “You can’t do that to him!” and insults from the group, a second officer helps drag the boy onto the road where he is handcuffed face down on the asphalt. The first officer tells the kids to “get back” again, and this time whips out his baton, extending it toward the group and pushing them with his hands to get away.
While the boy is held against the road, his brother, who is filming the event, calls out to him, according to CNN affiliate KVIA. “It’s all good,” he says. “We are going to put a report on these two fools. It’s all good.”
The police officer who pulled out his gun earlier then grabs the boy who is filming.
“What are you doing — hey I’m just recording!” he shouts as he is handcuffed.
That’s when the brothers’ mother, Elizabeth Flores, takes the phone and continues the video, according to KVIA.
As the cop approaches Flores, she runs away and the first officer yells after her, saying he knows where she lives. When Flores returns, a different boy, one wearing a white shirt and blue shorts, is talking to him.
“You pulled out a gun on a minor,” the boy says, looking up at the officer. “He wasn’t doing nothing but standing up. He was standing up normal. You pulled out a gun?”
That boy is also escorted away and is held against the police car.
Before additional police officers arrive and appear to de-escalate the situation, Flores can be heard saying: “Somebody’s going to end up dead one of these days.”
The investigation is ongoing
At a news conference on Saturday, El Paso Police Department spokesman Sgt. Enrique Carrillo said the department is launching an investigation to determine whether the officer who pulled his gun was following protocol. Until the investigation is over, the officer, a four-year veteran of the department, will remain on desk duty.
“What you’ve seen (in the video) is just a small piece of a puzzle,” Carrillo said. “The investigation needs to come to a conclusion before we can make a determination as to whether there were policies or protocols that were violated.”
Carrillo also confirmed that one adult and one minor were taken into custody after the incident and were charged with interfering with the duties of a police officer. He could not say whether they had been released.
At the news conference, Mack stressed the need for educating children on how to engage with police officers and said she believes it is also important for police officers to be part of the surrounding community.
“The thing for me that was most disheartening is to sort of see the children just completely labeled and to see them just sort of be discarded,” Mack said. “These are our children, this is our community and I am not giving up on those children.”
CNN has reached out to Flores and the El Paso Municipal Police Officers’ Association for comment.