It’s a gut-wrenching video. At least four police officers can be seen with their weapons drawn at a Black man who was kneeling on the sidewalk, faced away from the officers, his hands interlaced behind his head.
In the video, the woman could be heard interchangeably pleading with officers to put down their weapons, even as she urged the young man not to move, “because they will shoot you.”
Holsey told HuffPo that she was getting gas near a busy intersection in the city when she saw 24-year-old William Ewell being detained.
Holsey described her shock when she noticed Ewell, who she doesn’t know, being surrounded by so many officers, using what she described as excessive force.
“Is all that really necessary,” Holsey says in the video. “Is all the guns drawn on him necessary?”
Holsey told the HuffPo that Ewell had “instantly” surrendered, kneeling and holding his hands up.
The tense confrontation reportedly started from an argument with a gas station employee over a previous purchase. Ewell was arrested on suspicion of robbery but was released on Monday with a citation, the news site notes.
In the video, Ewell could be heard insisting that he does not have any weapons.
“Relax, relax baby,” Holsey could be heard telling Ewell as he verbally argued with officers. “Because they will shoot you. They killed my boyfriend, in 2015.”
Ewell eventually falls silent and keeps his hands still as Holsey continues to protest.
“Are you all about to kill this man? Look at these big ass guns on this man right now,” Holsey adds as her voice begins to crack from tears. “Look at this baby.”
Officers could be heard commanding Ewell to stand up and walk towards them, but again, Holsey interjects.
“Can y’all just put y’all guns away and somebody get him?” she adds, pleading with officers.
“Don’t move, don’t move, please don’t move,” Holsey continues in between tears, this time talking to Ewell.
“Can somebody just come get him?” she repeats.
Officers eventually begin to walk towards Ewell, with their guns still drawn.
“Don’t resist them, okay?” Holsey cautioned him.
Ewell was detained without issue. An officer steps up to speak to the obviously shaken Holsey.
The officer explained to her that Ewell was a suspect and that he “loosely matches the description” of a suspect.
“We’re not saying he’s a suspect, but we’ve got to figure out what’s going on,” the officer could be heard telling her on video. “It says a weapon was involved. That’s the only reason why he gets held at gunpoint.”
Holsey’s video went viral over the weekend. Many people voiced concern and outrage over the actions of police during the interaction. Others praised Holsey for intervening and perhaps saving Ewell’s life.