Altoona, PA — Once again, an abusive police officer is in the news after he was captured on cellphone video bullying and then punching a handcuffed 14-year-old boy in the face. There was no spit, no head butt, and nothing in the video shows the boy doing anything other than complying and talking to provoke the cop into hitting him.
The officer is a Pennsylvania state trooper who is currently enjoying anonymity from the department. He and another trooper were at a residence last week to arrest Preston Weakland, the 14-year-old boy in the video below, for running away.
As the video shows, the child is compliant and peace as he says goodbye to his friends and simply stands up and puts his hands behind his back as the officer tells him to do so.
“Put your hands behind your back,” the trooper tells Weakland, who replies, “I figured,” and does exactly what he’s asked.
He is then handcuffed without issue when the boy’s friend can be heard asking, “Why did you guys handcuff him?”
A girl can then be heard trying to hush the other boy just as Weakland mutters, “Because he’s a pussy.”
This was a poor decision to make while in handcuffs and being arrested. However, it is not illegal and most certainly did not justify the officer’s response.
“What did you say? What did you say?” the clearly enraged trooper yells at Weakland as he grabs him by the collar and shoves him into the dresser.
“Don’t get in my face like that,” Weakland says as the trooper gestures toward his face with his flashlight.
Being asked to get out of his face apparently enraged the trooper even further who then appears to punch the boy in his face with the hand holding the flashlight. The smack of the trooper’s fist into the face of a 14-year-old handcuffed boy is chilling.
“Don’t fucking hit me!” yells the trooper, in a likely attempt to justify his seemingly unprovoked violence. How a handcuffed child who is only 5’8″ and barely weighs 140 pounds, could “hit” a trooper who is manhandling him remains a mystery. What’s more, the video shows no such hit.
“I didn’t hit you,” Weakland confirms.
In spite of the fact that the boy was handcuffed and no such attempt to hit nor any actual hit is captured on video, the trooper then states, “congratulations, you just got a felony.”
The two cops then escort the boy out of the room and the video ends.
The boy’s father Joseph Weakland posted the video to his Facebook page over the weekend which was filled with backlash toward the state police in the comment section.
“Thank God he’s not injured — mentally, maybe,” Joe Weakland said.
According to the Altoona Mirror, Preston Weakland said Friday he did make the comment about the trooper that seemed to spark the confrontation, but up until that point everyone in the room was calm and he was doing what he was told, even though the officers never told him where they were going or why he was being handcuffed.
“He was being compliant and it looks like that officer was instigating and antagonizing him,” the boy’s mother Tricia Reed said noting that the trooper’s actions were unacceptable.
His parents described Weakland to the Mirror as quiet and “a good kid” who has not been in any serious trouble, but has been defiant, and ran away because he doesn’t want to follow his mother’s rules.
Following the release of the video, the department responded by noting that there was an internal investigation underway.
“An internal investigation is being conducted to determine the facts and circumstances around the video,” Trooper David McGarvey, spokesman for Troop G in Hollidaysburg, said in a statement Friday.
Weakland’s parents are now asking that all charges over this incident be dropped as their son is the victim.
If you would like to voice your concern over what you see in the video below, you can do so at the Pennsylvania State Police Facebook page, here.