*Kentucky police have addressed a widely shared TikTok video showing two white men sitting on top of a barefoot Black man in Hazard, Kentucky, as a state trooper watches.
The video was posted by user @the_savage_lokius and had been viewed more than 420,000 times as of Thursday afternoon, according to Atlanta Black Star. It showed one shirtless man straddling the Black man, while the other leans on top of him, using his body weight to pin him against the pavement in a parking lot. A Kentucky State trooper stands nearby during the ordeal, just watching it all go down. The Black man can be heard yelling and calling out from under the weight of the two men.
“We don’t have any context about what is happening,” the user said in a video 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.
Kentucky State Police Commander of Public Affairs Sgt. Billy Gregory has responded, telling 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.