By Leah Asmelash and Konstantin Toropin | CNN
A Seattle police officer captured on video rolling his bicycle over the head of a protester who was lying in the street is now on administrative leave.
The Seattle Police Department said in a statement Thursday that the actions of the officer — who has not been identified — are being investigated independently by the King County Sheriff’s Office at the department’s request.
Earlier on Thursday, the city’s police watchdog group said it was requesting a criminal investigation.
Video of the incident taken Wednesday night and posted on Twitter shows a protester lying in the street as an officer, who is on foot, rolls his bicycle over the protester’s head and neck.
The scene is immediately surrounded by nearby officers.
The video and subsequent outrage comes as tensions rise between protesters against systemic racism and police officers, after the Kentucky attorney general announced on Wednesday that no officers would be charged for Breonna Taylor’s death.
Mass protests occurred Wednesday night in cities across the US from Louisville to Los Angeles, Atlanta and New York; swaths of people congregated to protest and grieve the decision. A number of protesters have been arrested as a result.
From a review of the video, the Seattle Police Department’s Force Investigation Team (FIT) said it had “identified potential violations of SPD policy, as well as potential criminal conduct,” the statement from the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA), the watchdog group, said.
Subsequently, the case was referred to the OPA.
“After further analyzing the video and observing the interviews conducted by FIT, OPA requested that a criminal investigation be conducted,” the statement said.
A CNN email to the Seattle Police Officers Guild seeking comment wasn’t immediately returned.
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