The cell phone video at last month's Pittsburgh Pride quickly went viral: a young lesbian's hair was pulled by a police officer before he punched her repeatedly. The woman's fiancee screams while others look on with horror.
While some witnesses contend Ariel Lawther didn't deserve the response she received from officer Souroth Chatterji, it was known she did apologize to the officer, later put on desk duty, after the incident. Lawther, who allegedly pushed and kicked the officer in the groin, said she wasn't aware it was a police officer she attacked.
The most recent evidence — culled from nearby bank cameras and a photographer in the area — indicate Lawther pushed an antigay protestor — a preacher — at the parade. When the officer intervened, the young woman reacted violently.
The officer contends he was only trying to subdue Lawther. "You'll notice the blows he struck were to the body, to get her arms down, so he can get her handcuffed and get her under control," Fraternal Order of Police attorney Bryan Campbell told the Associated Press. "In this particular case he felt striking her would overcome her resistance and, in fact, it did."
Lawther was arrested and charged with resisting arrest and aggravated assault; she faces a preliminary hearing August 11.