A “sickening” video shared on social media has shown a cuffed protester being repeatedly spat on while being detained in Richmond, Virginia in the US on Tuesday.
The man, cuffed and seated on the ground in front of a line of police officers, is suddenly spat on by one of them as protesters in the distance film.
“We got that on camera a**hole!” they screamed at the officers. Moments later, a different officer spits on the man again.
The person who filmed the video said the person had been arrested after protesters had been sprayed with tear gas, and the scene was settling down.
“I wish I was more surprised but this is the US; our police force is over-militarised and full of white supremacists and abusers,” she told news.com.au.
Mayor of Richmond Levar Stoney has apologised over the incident, telling the residents of the city their rights had been “violated”.
As violent and peaceful protests have raged in at least 140 cities across the US, sparked by the killing of African-American man George Floyd by white police officer Derek Chauvin, the country remains gripped by the coronavirus pandemic.
The spitting incident sparked concerns over the detained protesters’ safety, as the US grapples with the ongoing issue of the virus – while violence, looting, unrest and widespread demonstrations continue for an eighth day.
RELATED: Powerful images from US riots
The US has more than 1.8 million cases of coronavirus. Of those, a staggering 105,000 people have been killed by the virus.
“Absolutely sickening,” US singer songwriter Nicholas Tomillon commented on the video showing the protester being spat on.
“Shameful. In Richmond, VA. This is our America,” another person wrote.
The Richmond Police released an apology for deploying tear gas on the peaceful protesters, saying their operations had been hampered by violent people in the crowd.
Mr Stoney met with protesters the following day and took a knee, telling protesters their rights had been “violated” by the deployment of tear gas.
“I apologise, we violated your rights,” he said.