A viral video from the Black Lives Matter protest in Baltimore, Maryland, on Friday night shows an African-American woman slapping a police officer and getting knocked out in return. The clip originated on Facebook Live, where a Baltimore local seemed to be recording the demonstrations from his car. The isolated video soon made the rounds on other forms of social media, with viewers arguing about who was in the wrong.
The video begins with a middle-aged woman arguing with two police officers in the middle of an intersection. It is not clear how she got there or how it started, but traffic was stopped, and several onlookers watched as three police officers closed in on the woman. When one of them grabbed her upper arm as if to detain her, she brought her hand around to hit him twice in the face. Another officer responded by punching her in the chin, and she fell hard, apparently unconscious for several minutes.
Witnesses soon got up and approached the scene while other officers arrived to form a barrier. Officers handcuffed the woman while she was still lying motionless on the ground. By the end of the full video, she was able to sit up briefly, but she fell over again, and the police left her lying on her side.
The video ended before the situation was fully resolved, but angry witnesses were still there arguing about how to handle the injustice. There appeared to be an ambulance nearby, but it was not clear if it was for the woman in handcuffs or not.
The video made waves all over social media — one of many heated protest clips from the last four nights. Some viewers argued that well-trained and experienced police should have been able to detain that woman without violence in that situation and charge her with assaulting a police officer. Others thought that she had done more harm than good for the movement by slapping an officer in the first place.
"Why they not just let her off with assaulting a cop... World is too hard on folk," one wrote, while another added: "Got no sympathy for this woman... She just made things go even worse in all ways. I will NOT be distracted by s— like she pulled, George Floyd's death MUST be answered for."
Among the major cities with demonstrations for the Black Lives Matter movement this week, Baltimore has some of the most experience. In 2015, the city saw a string of angry protests after the police killed a 25-year-old African-American man, Freddie Gray, while he was in custody. Organizers around the country have declared their intentions of continuing peaceful demonstrations on Saturday night, while Minneapolis has declared a state of emergency and invoked a curfew.