An “alarming” and “disturbing” video of a South California sheriff shows him kicking a suspect in the head after he had surrendered. A criminal investigation has been launched against the sheriff.
In a statement, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said that the incident took place on Wednesday in Victorville, about 85 miles northeast of Los Angeles when a motorist failed to stop for a traffic violation.
This led to a chase through the city streets and on Interstate 15 highway, the statement added. The motorcyclist was identified as Willie Jones, 33.
The sheriff’s office said that Mr Jones led the deputies on a “high-speed” pursuit “narrowly missing several head-on collisions with oncoming vehicles.”
Mr Jones then ditched his bike and fled on foot. The chase ended around 12:45 am PT.
The Sheriff’s statement said: “A supervisor arrived on the scene and discovered Jones’ arrest was captured on surveillance cameras from a nearby business. Once the supervisor reviewed the surveillance footage, there was immediate concern about a deputy’s actions.”
The video from a car dealership where Mr Jones ditched his bike showed a man hide “under a truck, then get up, turn around and put his hands in the air as he faces an approaching deputy,” CNN reported.
As per the video, the man is then seen “appearing to surrender by laying on his belly.”
The video also captured the disturbing footage of the deputy approaching the man and kicking him in the head two times. “The man is motionless as other deputies arrive to cuff him. He is assisted to his feet and limps away, cuffed, with a deputy escorting him,” local reports said.
Sheriff John McMahon told the media: “I expect my deputies to remain professional while engaging the public.” And added that “This incident raises concerns.”
Authorities said the deputy, whose identity wasn’t revealed, had been working with the department since 2016 and stationed at the Victorville station in September 2017.
Meanwhile, Mr Jones has been provided with medical care and, according to public records, he was released on bail and is no longer in custody. He was booked on suspicion of felony evading with disregard for public safety, the sheriff’s statement said.
Shannon Dicus, San Bernardino County Undersheriff called the video footage “alarming” and “disturbing” and said that a “full investigation is underway, and the involved deputy has been placed on administrative leave while detectives from our Specialised Investigations Division complete their investigation into the use of force. Once the investigation is completed, it will be submitted to the District Attorney’s Office for their review.”