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FCPD to review viral incident of officers pointing guns at person filming

A Fairfax County police car with lights flashing (file photo)

(Updated at 3:15 p.m.) A video has been circulating on social media showing two Fairfax County police officers pointing guns at a person who was recording as they appeared to arrest someone.

Police said they were responding to an incident at a Falls Church IHOP where they believed a weapon was involved.

In the video, county police department vehicles are shown with their lights on. As officers appear to arrest someone, one officer looks toward the camera and says “stop him.” Another officer approaches the person recording, points a gun at them and tells them to stay where they’re at. The person recording asks “Why you pointing the gun on me?”

When the officer responds, “Because you have a weapon,” the person asks what weapon.

She asks for him to get on his knees before another officer approaches with a gun drawn and shouts “Get on the ground.”

Note: The following video contains strong language and is not safe for work.

The Fairfax County Police Department said that three to four juveniles entered the IHOP at 6655 Arlington Blvd., around 7 p.m. Saturday (July 9) when one threatened the hostess while another lifted his shirt, revealing what appeared to be a handgun in his waistband.

The juveniles left but returned later, around 11 p.m., and tried to get the employee to go outside to the parking lot, police said.

“When officers arrived, the juveniles ran to a nearby parking lot, where officers detained two subjects and did not find a weapon,” the FCPD told FFXnow. “While detaining them, a third subject, who the officers believed to be involved, approached with something in his hands. Due to the nature of the call and not locating a weapon, officers ordered the subject to the ground at gunpoint.”

The department said the officers determined the person was holding a cell phone and filming.

The three were detained by police and later released to their parents, police said.

“The investigation has been assigned to a detective in our Criminal Investigation Division,” police said. “As with all pointing of a firearm events, the incident is under review.”

The department said a weapon was not recovered.

County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in response to a tweet of the video that the findings of an investigation into the incident will be shared with the community.

“The pointing of a firearm prompts an internal review that will be monitored by the Independent Police Auditor who reports directly to the Board,” he wrote on Twitter. “Ensuring our officers are following departmental policies and the expectations of our community are of paramount importance.”

Independent Police Auditor Richard Schott confirmed to FFXnow that he will be monitoring and reviewing the police department’s internal investigation of the incident.

Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk commented to social media as well on the recent use of force incidents. These included two shootings where residents died after police shot them, one at Springfield Town Center two weeks ago and another at a McLean home last week.

“I share the concerns that I’ve heard from many in the community about both the nature of these incidents, as well as the frequency at which they are occurring,” Lusk wrote. “It’s important to acknowledge that the use of force by our police department — especially deadly force — with this level of frequency is not normal in our community. However, it is equally critical that we allow for a full investigation of the facts in each of these cases before determining if the force deployed was justified.”

Angela Woolsey and Brandi Bottalico contributed to this article.

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