A Chicago police officer seen kicking a man in the head in a video posted to social media this week has been stripped of his police powers and placed on desk duty pending an investigation, the Chicago Police Department said.
"Upon viewing the video, Superintendent Johnson immediately asked the Independent Police Review Authority to investigate the matter while the department gathers more information about the case," the department said in a statement.
Footage that has been seen thousands of times on Facebook shows the officer attempting to arrest a suspect, identified as 24-year-old Shaquille O'Neil, running from police in the city’s Lawndale neighborhood. It begins with the pair struggling on the ground in the 3900 block of West Grenshaw.
Witnesses say O'Neil was running from police and appeared to be resisting arrest when the officer took the man to the ground.
“He was running from police, they had him face down on the ground,” said witness Dre Powell. “Started whopping him.”
Another officer arrives on scene and at one point kicks the man in the face.
“The officer came over there and kicked him in the face,” said Terrance Hobson, who took the video.
The footage was posted to Facebook Monday afternoon, where it quickly garnered more than 180,000 views and more than 9,700 shares in a matter of four hours.
O'Neil was knocked unconscious and taken to Mount Sinai Hospital for treatment, according to the Chicago Fire Department. He was released from the hospital on Tuesday.
"Really, really disturbing to see that video," community activist Jedidiah Brown said. "It outraged a lot of people in the city of Chicago."
A small but vocal group of protestors gathered at police headquarters overnight.
"Instead of turning around and putting his boot to the face of the young man, he was supposed to get down and properly handcuff him, as he has been trained to do."
It was not immediately known why police were chasing the man.
Police said pending charges against O'Neil include aggravated battery to a peace officer, resisting peace officer, possession of a controlled substance and reckless conduct.
“I don’t know what he did, the guy they were detaining,” said Hobson. “But everybody seen what you did. That was wrong too.”
The Chicago Police Department said its investigation into the incident is ongoing.