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Video shows officer punching 13-year-old multiple times — but police say the video doesn't tell the whole story

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Image source: YouTube screenshot

A video making the rounds on the internet shows a police officer striking an individual who was later identified as a 13-year-old girl from Phoenix, Arizona, but local police say that the video doesn't capture the entire story.

Authorities say that the girl became unruly and struck the officer first.

What are the details?

According to a Wednesday report from Fox News, police responded to an area apartment complex on Monday for reports of a stolen vehicle.

Viral video footage shared to the internet this week captured the moment a responding officer punched a girl several times.

Following the release of the officer's body cam footage, police said the the teen — later identified as 13-year-old Taylor Thomas — approached the officer and refused to stay back.

The teen, according to the report, attempted to intervene during the arrest and despite several warnings, reportedly swung at an officer.

Phoenix Police Sergeant Ann Justus said the the vehicle had "several people inside of it," including the minor female in the video.

"At least two people, including that minor female, were arrested for charges including aggravated assault on a police officer," Justus added.

In describing the moments that led up to the altercation, Justus said, "Four men got out of the car. As officers were taking them into custody, people began gathering around, several of them filming the officers. Other officers told onlookers they needed to stay back during the arrests."

"A female, who officers later learned was 13-years-old, approached the officers as they were still detaining people. She was warned multiple times to get back. She walked in front of officers as they were trying to put one of the men in the backseat of a police car and was moved out of the way by an officer," Justus explained.

She continued, "The female then passed by the officers who ordered her to stay back, and quickly approached two officers who had a man in custody. A female officer saw her approaching the officers and grabbed her arm to pull her back. The female swung her arm at the female officer, striking the female officer on the right side of the face. The officer’s body worn camera was knocked off at that time, and can be seen, on other officers’ body camera videos, flying off of her vest. The female officer responded to being hit by striking the female in the face."

Teen punched by Phoenix Police: Officials release body cam www.youtube.com

Charlene Thomas, the teen's aunt, said that her niece is being wrongly accused of assaulting an officer.

"I thought my niece was just going to be unconscious the way that the officer did my niece," she told KSAZ-TV. "I just was devastated."

Taylor added that she doesn't even know who the people in the purportedly stolen vehicle were.

"I was never in the stolen car. I was out with four kids getting them ice cream," Taylor told the station.

Charlene added, "I’m yelling ‘she’s a minor!’ You’re gonna lock me up when I’m telling them … even when I told them she’s a minor, they didn’t stop. She still kept going when she had her on the ground. She could’ve just stopped and done anything besides keep punching her."

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call the Phoenix Police Department at (800) 343-TIPS.

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