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San Antonio Police Department officials ruled recently that an officer, who struck a 14-year-old girl, was justified in his use of force, the San Antonio Express-News reports.

Officer Gary Tuli’s supervisor determined he was justified in using force against the child, who is not identified because she is minor, after she struck first, according to a report released Monday.

A grainy viral video of the altercation that was shot from a distance by a bystander shows Tuli hitting the child during an altercation, leading some to question if he had actually struck her. But Tuli confirmed that he indeed hit her late in the evening May 20 in the parking lot, claiming it was after she hit him.

The department’s policy states that “If circumstances allow, officers should attempt to de-escalate tense situations through ‘advisements, warnings, verbal persuasion, and other tactics’ to reduce the need for force.” But the police department released a statement, saying Tuli was justified in using force because the child did not respond to deescalation tactics.

The report claims that the girl incurred no injuries, though her lawyer, Karen Corby, says she did. Further, she says that Bexar County District Attorney’s Office has not formally filed charged the girl, who spent a day-and-a-half in a juvenile detention center. She was released because had no prior record of violence.

The police department’s decision in this case represents yet another example of the adultification of Black girls, a process that leads to them receiving harsher punishments than their white counterparts. In a recent study by Georgetown’s Center on Poverty and Inequality, researchers found that adults see Black girls as less innocent, less in need of support, protection, comfort, and nurturing, are more independent, know more about “adult topics,” and seem older than similarly aged white girls.

A police spokesperson declined to comment further on the case, which has been turned over to the District Attorney’s for review.

Watch the video above to see if you think the officer’s use of force was justified.

SOURCE: San Antonio Express-News

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