PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Cell phone video of a police confrontation at a North Versailles movie theater has been viewed more than a million times.
Melanie Carter, of Wilkinsburg, posted the incident on her Facebook page earlier this year, and it went viral, being viewed more than a million times. But, until now, Carter has never spoken about what happened that night. She says she was afraid for her life.
Carter not only shot the video, she is the woman being taken into custody.
“I thought the officer was going to kill me,” Carter says.
Carter, who describes herself as a teaching artist and community activist, was at the Phoenix Theatres movie theater in North Versailles in late February with a friend, whose kids were at the adjoining trampoline park.
When they arrived to pick the kids up, she saw the confrontation between the kids and the theater manager.
“I heard them call them animals, and I took out my phone, and was like, ‘You can’t call them animals,’” said Carter.
Minutes earlier, cell phone in hand, Carter says the police officer on scene, Christopher Kelly of North Versailles, started talking to her.
“The officer asked me for a light. And I thought that was just so crazy, why is he asking me for a light?” Carter said.
And then things escalated, quickly.
The video shows an exchange between Carter and the officer:
Kelly: “Get off the premises.”
Carter: “I didn’t trespass anything.”
Kelly: “Leave the premises.”
Carter: “Get off of me, get off of me. You see this guy? Get off of me. What are you doing?”
“He, like, violently and viciously attacked me, as if filming him was like the worst thing I could have done,” said Carter.
Carter faces a preliminary hearing next week for resisting arrest, failure to disperse, disorderly conduct and defiant trespass.
“I would like for them to drop the charges, ‘cause I have a lot of them, and I believe that the officer should not be in his position,” said Carter.
North Versailles Police did not return phone calls made by KDKA’s Lynne Hayes-Freeland on Thursday. The manager in the video was terminated by the theater once it went viral.
But Carter says she can’t forget what happened.
“I remember being on the ground and thinking, ‘He could kill me and get away with it,’ and then what? He’s going to kill me in front of these kids,” she said.
The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office initially said it found the actions of the officer involved questionable, but on Thursday said, “It found nothing involving the officer’s actions that we could move forward on.”
Since her initial arrest, Carter was also charged in a case involving Port Authority Police. She says she is hurt by efforts to try and connect the two events, which are unrelated.