Police bodycam footage appearing to show an officer pushing a 78-year-old woman to the ground at a protest in Tucson, Arizona, has sparked outrage.
In the clip released by the Tuscon Police Department, Fritzi Redgrave appears to shout at an officer while pointing at him. The police officer appears to push Redgrave’s arm away and she falls straight backward, landing on her backpack.
Sgt. Pete Dugan of the Tucson Police Department told NBC News that the tape is under review, and it is still too early to determine if any wrongdoing occurred.
The video was taken during a clash between police and protesters at an immigration rally on Feb. 16.
Approximately 70 to 80 protesters gathered to oppose U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement policies. The event was organized by Lucha Unida de Padres y Estudiantes or L.U.P.E., the group confirmed to NBC News in an email, adding that it was the only group organizing the protest.
"Immigrant rights action committee L.U.P.E is calling on all progressive and popular forces in Tucson for an emergency protest …" the group’s Facebook invitation to the event read. "Let us demonstrate with a unified voice of peoples [sic] power our determination to fight back and resist."
The Tucson Police Department said in a statement that the demonstration started out peacefully, but when a group of protesters refused to move out of the rush hour-packed road, things grew tense.
According to police, one protester allegedly elbowed a bicycle officer in the back. When authorities attempted to take the man into custody, a large group surrounded the officers and later the police vehicle that was attempting to transport the man.
Several protesters linked arms in front of the vehicle to prevent it from driving away as they chanted, "these streets belong to us."
Dugan said the protesters were "surrounding the officers, being loud and closing-in on them."
Redgrave — wearing a red cap and holding a white sign with the word "RESIST" written across it — was one of those standing in front of the police car. She can be seen pointing and appears to yell something at one officer, as the majority of other protesters have backed off.
In video recorded from another angle, the officer’s arm is seen moving forward and Redgrave falls backward, but several people partially obscure the shot. Pepper spray is deployed, and the protesters help another woman, Rolande Baker, move away as she says, "I can’t see."
As Redgrave gets to her knees, an officer in the video appears to help her up and move her to the side. She then walks away on her own and rejoins other protesters.
"The officers started giving commands to back-up," Dugan said on Feb. 17. "Officers then deployed pepper spray in an attempt to disperse the crowd. They were completely outnumbered [by the protesters]."
Dugan said Tucson Police do not use a chemical spray and that they used a natural spray that is easy to wipe away.
"It is unfortunate because there were people who were peacefully protesting," Dugan said. "But we had an individual who assaulted an officer. Then, we had others who were inferring with judicial procedures, obstructing us from doing the job and hindering our investigation. At that point, they are committing criminal activity."
Two women and one man were charged with felony aggravated assault on a police officer, and a third woman was charged with multiple misdemeanors, including obstructing police and failure to give identification.
During the scuffle, three officers were also injured, but Dugan said the injuries were minor and none of the officers were transported for medical care.
Dugan said because several people complained that the clash was the fault of the police, Tucson Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards was sent to the scene to interview protesters, and the department has asked for any additional video to be submitted so it can be reviewed.