Kentucky police have addressed a widely shared TikTok video showing two white men physically restraining a Black man in Hazard, Kentucky, as a trooper watches.
The video was posted by user @the_savage_lokius earlier in the week and had been viewed more than 420,000 times as of Thursday afternoon.
“We don’t have any context about what is happening,” the user said before showing the footage. “But a police officer is definitely standing there doing nothing. So if you live in Hazard or know someone who lives in Hazard, please look at this video and help us find out what’s going on.
The video was taken in a parking lot in Hazard, Kentucky, and shows a barefoot Black man pinned to the ground as two white men hold him down. One man, who is shirtless, appears to be straddling the man, while the other leans on top of the man, using his body weight to hold him against the ground. A Kentucky State trooper stands nearby during the ordeal. The Black man can be heard yelling and calling out from under the weight of the two men.
The user provided contact information for the Hazard Police Department after playing the footage and encouraged people to find out what was happening.
Kentucky State Police Commander of Public Affairs Sgt. Billy Gregory told WYMT on Tuesday that on June 21 troopers responded to assist in a situation in which a mentally ill man’s caregivers were attempting to safely restrain him.
“On June 21, a KSP trooper responded to assist with a situation in a parking lot in Hazard. The trooper spoke with the individual’s caregivers and took appropriate action to de-escalate the situation by utilizing Crisis Intervention Training, a program developed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, that allowed the caregivers to use their training to prevent the individual from harming himself or others. EMS responded to the scene and transported the individual to the hospital where he was treated and released.”
The incident took place in a McDonald’s parking lot, and the trooper has been identified as Ronnie Long, according to WVTQ.
According to Kentucky law, a parent, guardian or caregiver can use physical force on a minor or manually disabled person to promote the welfare of the person as long as the force isn’t intended to cause pain or distress.