A New York police officer has been slammed after he was filmed beating a bystander over social distancing regulations.
According to witness Daquan Owens, undercover officers approached a couple talking outside a food store and demanded they stand further apart.
However, Owens says the couple were standing 2m apart.
But as police tried to handcuff the couple, bystander Donni Wright intervened and asked what was going on.
The officer can be heard yelling a racial slur at Wright before pointing a Taser at him.
As the officer and Wright approached one another, the officer is seen grabbing Wright and slamming him into the ground, punching him before kneeling on his neck.
Owens told local media the couple were social distancing.
"The girl was standing by the phone booth, the guy was sitting on a milk crate. When the cops pulled up she said, 'He's not doing anything'. They grabbed her and started tussling with her. Then the guy on the milk crate got mad and started yelling at police."
Owens also defended Wright, saying he never raised a hand at the officer.
"Donni wasn't being aggressive, he was just talking. He never raised his hands or hit him. Cop just took it upon himself to start beating him. I was standing right next to him. I could hear everything."
Owens has since uploaded the footage to social media, saying, "This pig [police officer] got to go."
NYPD spokeswoman Sergeant Mary O'Donnell responded to the incident in a statement, saying "a group was observed…in violation with social distancing orders".
The statement went on to say that when the officers approached the group, "they observed a bag of alleged marijuana in plain view".
Wright has since been charged with assaulting an officer, menacing, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct.
Another video supports Owens' version of events, with another bystander claiming it was police who broke social distancing rules.
"In the name of social distancing, the NYPD then put their hands and breath and bodies all over people, beat them up, handcuffed, arrested them and sent them to jail where social distancing is impossible. Please share before this video gets taken down." the bystander wrote online.
It is understood the officer has now been taken off the streets and placed on office duties.