FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY. PHILIPPINE POLICE MAN A CHECKPOINT ON THE BORDER BETWEEN QUEZON CITY AND MANILA DISTRICTS ON MARCH 18, 2020, AS THE GOVERNMENT IMPOSED MEASURES TO CURB THE SPREAD OF THE COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS. PHOTO: TED ALJIBE / AFP.
A cop in the Philippines has been relieved from his post after a video of him pinning down a man with his knees went viral over the weekend.
In the video posted on Thursday, July 23, the cop later identified as Zamboanga City Police Station 7 station commander Maj. Jivertson Pelovello, is seen kicking the man’s leg and pushing him to the ground before kneeling on his neck and stomach. The man does not appear to have fought back.
A spokesperson for the police told GMA News that the incident happened after Pelovello caught two men riding a motorcycle and allegedly violating COVID-19 rules.
“He noticed the two men not wearing helmets and face masks. They were also only wearing slippers,” Captain Edwin Duco said. “When he approached them, the two sped away and raced with the police. They almost hit something. One of the men ran away, while the other was caught.”
The video quickly sparked the ire of Filipinos, many of whom are now comparing it to the fatal police brutality that George Floyd experienced in Minneapolis. Floyd, a Black man, died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for close to nine minutes. His death has led to a worldwide movement against police brutality and systematic racism.
Following the outpouring of criticisms, Pelovello has been fired from his position and is now under investigation.
“It is unfortunate that the viral video seems to suggest brutality or application of unreasonable force disproportionate to subdue a seemingly cooperative suspect,” Zamboanga Peninsula regional police chief Brig. Gen. Jesus Cambay Jr. said, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The Philippines has some of the strictest coronavirus policies in the world. Early on in the lockdown, the government deployed uniformed officers to man checkpoints in between cities and provinces. Police brutality is also common. One man was shot dead in April after allegedly disobeying coronavirus restrictions, while police officers were found to have put lockdown violators in dog cages in March.
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