A woman in California recorded nearly a dozen police officers aiming their weapons at an unarmed black man on June 7.
In the video, a woman who identifies herself as Sky, can be heard asking the various police officers why they've drawn so many weapons on the man, who tells Sky his name is William. “Prairie and El Segundo, and they have their guns drawn on this young black man right here,” she says at the beginning of the video. “Why are your guns pulled on this young man?”
As she's asking the police officers questions, she's also speaking directly to the victim, telling him not to move because they will shoot him. “I ain’t got no weapons,” he tells Sky. “Are you gonna shoot him?” she asks the officers, before warning William, “Relax, because they will shoot you."
More officers are arriving at the scene when Sky reveals that her boyfriend, Leroy Browning, was the victim of police brutality in 2015. “They killed my boyfriend, in 2015,” she says. "Yes he was killed by the police." At one point, as she's approaching William, one of the officers looks as though she's pointing her gun at Sky, who then asks the policewoman, "You gon' shoot me, too?"
Two police officers then approach Sky, one of whom tells her that William "loosely matches the description" of someone who perpetrated a robbery. As one of the officers appears to intentionally block her camera's view, the other tells her they're just detaining him and they had their guns drawn because they were told the suspect was armed. "We're not saying he's the suspect, but we've got to figure out what's going on."
Rebecca J. Kavanaugh, a public defender in New York, took to Twitter to note that in her experience, "fits the description" is "the MOST COMMON pretext police use to stop and search Black people. It is harassment."
The Hawthorne Police Department released a statement on the day of the incident. "After assisting officers arrived, the subject was handcuffed and detained for further investigation," the press release read.