Friday, September 5, 2014
The city announced this afternoon that officer Souroth Chatterji did not use excessive force when he arrested 19-year-old Ariel Lawther at a June 15 PrideFest event.
The incident grew widespread attention after a video surfaced which showed Chatterji pulling Lawther out of a crowd by the hair and neck just before punching her several times.
"A final report by the Office of Municipal Investigations, including an analysis completed by an independent consultant, has determined that the officer involved did not use excessive force," city solicitor Lourdes Sanchez-Ridge wrote in a statement. "The evidence may not always reveal what one video, one photograph, or one statement might reveal alone."
Chatterji is back on duty, according to the statement.
She wrote that the city asked "an outside agency" to conduct a review of the incident and that they "arrived at the same conclusion."
"It will be city policy from this point forward to seek third-party analysis in all excessive force investigations, just as we did in this case," Sanchez-Ridge wrote. She added that the incident will prompt a review of training procedures once Cameron McLay — who Mayor Bill Peduto announced earlier this week would become the city's permanent police chief — takes his post.
The announcement comes nearly two months after a self-imposed deadline Peduto appeared to set for himself to investigate the incident.
The full press release is here.