Video of an unarmed black man kneeling as cops in California have their guns drawn has gone viral after it was posted by a bystander on Instagram.
The bystander, Sky Holsey, said she was getting gas on June 7 when it happened in a Hawthorne, California, intersection, about 15 miles southwest of Los Angeles.
She not only started recording, she stepped right into the action and begged cops to put down their weapons, potentially jeopardizing all involved.
At one point, an officer tells Holsey to move out of the line of fire.
"Get out of my way, get out of my way,” the cop says.
But the bystander kept at it, even breaking down in tears.
Holsey spoke to Inside Edition and said “of course” it was her obligation to start recording, adding, “I felt like I wanted to do something and that was the only thing I could do.”
Some people are praising her for getting involved and potentially saving the man's life, but others say she had no knowledge of what led up to the confrontation and foolishly put herself in jeopardy.
“I felt like even if he was robbing a store, once he was one his knees, he surrendered," Holsey told Inside Edition. "I wanted my presence alone just to calm the situation.”
Fortunately, for everyone involved, the incident ended peacefully. Cops handcuffed 24-year-old William Ewell.
Hawthorne police suspected Ewell and two companions of entering a mini-mart and arguing with the cashier. "Ewell then walked behind the counter... And forcibly grabbed store items." The cashier "attempted to stop Ewell at which time she was assaulted."
"They say a weapon was involved, that's the only reason why he gets held at gunpoint, OK? It's for our safety and everyone around's safety,” an officer told Holsey in the video.
Holsey doesn't regret her decision. "If I see it happening, I will stop it every time," she said.