TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Video footage of a 12-year-old girl being body-slammed to the ground by Hong Kong police Sunday (Sept. 6) has prompted outrage across social media.
The video, shared by the Hong Kong Free Press and activist Nathan Law (羅冠聰) on Twitter, shows a young girl of school age attempting to run away from the police who cornered her during a pro-democracy protest. As she tried to escape, an officer was seen charging into her and violently knocking her to the ground before four other officers rushed to pin her down.
Despite public outrage over the incident, the Hong Kong police defended their actions in a statement Sunday night and said the girl had fled "in a suspicious manner." They claimed the officers had subdued her with "use of minimum necessary force" and that she was participating in a prohibited assembly.
However, in an interview with local media, the mother of the girl said she was only passing by the area to buy paint for schoolwork with her brother. She said there was no justifiable reason to treat her daughter in such a manner and she will file a lawsuit against the officers involved.
Meanwhile, the girl told the media that she ran because she was scared. She said she was on her way to meet with her family when the police suddenly approached her for no reason, reported ETtoday.
Since it was posted, the video has sparked sharp criticism of the Hong Kong police from international communities. Some Twitter users condemned the extreme force used against the 12-year-old while others questioned the Hong Kong government for abrogating its responsibility for controlling local law enforcement.
According to NowNews, Sunday was supposed to have been the date of the elections for Hong Kong's legislature, but they were postponed for one year by Carrie Lam, the city's chief executive, who cited the coronavirus as the official reason. The pro-democracy camp believes Lam delayed the elections to prevent her opposition from gaining seats and decided to launch Sunday's rally, during which 289 people were arrested for illegal assembly.