A widely shared video of a Rancho Cordova deputy punching a 14-year-old black teenager and slamming his head into the ground has prompted the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office to open a use-of-force investigation.
The video, posted to Twitter just after midnight on Tuesday and viewed hundreds of thousands of times on social media, begins with the deputy kneeling over the teen. He then grabs the 14-year-old by the neck, pins his head to the dirt, rolls him onto his back, then punches him.
An individual off-camera repeatedly pleads for the deputy to stop.
My baby brother who is 14 years old. All of this over a swisher😤 there’s more footage but I wasn’t able to upload it all. Please repost, we just want justice for my baby!😭💯 #JUSTICE4JAH pic.twitter.com/reftDDyHha— nana mf bangah💋 (@0hnana__) April 28, 2020
An individual who wrote that she is the 14-year-old's sister Tweeted the video, which took place near Mills Station and Mather Field roads, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
A press release from the Sheriff’s Office states a deputy was patrolling the neighborhood due to previous complaints about illegal sales of tobacco and alcohol to minors.
It says the deputy saw what he thought was a “hand-to-hand exchange” between an adult and a minor. The adult fled, and the deputy approached the teen, who refused to cooperate.
“The juvenile became physically resistive at that time, causing the deputy to lose control of his handcuffs, which landed several feet away,” the press release reads. “The deputy attempted to maintain control of the juvenile without his handcuffs and while alone waiting for his partners to arrive and assist him.”
The 15-second video shows the officer punch the teen at least four times and grab him by the neck and back in an attempt to pin him to the ground.
In an Instagram video that shows additional footage, the teen can be heard saying “I wasn’t fighting, bro.”
View this post on Instagram
This is my 14 year old nephew being shoved into the ground by a Rancho Cordova police officer triple his size. 14 FUCKING YEARS OLD! And he’s handling him like a man equal his size! For what? Possession of a swisher? Is all this shit really necessary? He already had him held down and he felt the need to punch him AFTER shoving his face into the ground!? He acts like he fucking hurt somebody! I remember telling him a while back that he may be half black, but the world will just see him as BLACK and that he has to walk and experience the world in a very different way... didn’t expect him to experiencing this so early. #justice4jahjah
Berry Accius, who works with young black men as part of his Voices Of Youth nonprofit, called the beating “more unnecessary excessive force.”
“You’d think that, in a pandemic, there’d be a little more care when it comes how he’d react,” Accius said of the deputy. “At the end of the day, there’s no excuse for that kind of behavior.”
The press release from the sheriff’s office says the deputy “recovered tobacco products” from the 14-year-old, who was “cited and released to his guardians.”
The woman who Tweeted the video expressed outrage that the teen was beaten over a Swisher Sweet cigar wrap.
“He was charged with “resisting arrest”. But what was he even being arrested for?? For having a swisher? & they ended up letting him go so what was all of this for?? Smh he was left with scratches and chest pains! this was so unnecessary!” she wrote on Twitter.
The Sheriff’s Office did not respond to requests for an interview.
In its press release, which is signed by Sgt. Tess Deterding, it reads that “this type of situation is hard on everyone — the young man, who resisted arrest, and the officer, who would much rather have him cooperate.”
The Rancho Cordova Police Department contracts with Sacramento County, which has “proactively started an investigation into the use of force by our deputy in order to gain a complete and thorough understanding of the events that took place during this incident,” according to the press release.
It’s unclear whether the deputy, who was a “problem oriented policing” officer who does not always respond to calls for service, was wearing a body-worn camera.
The deputy was not wearing a mask, protective face covering or gloves during the arrest, raising questions around coronavirus-related safety procedures for officers. Sacramento County health officials are not requiring residents to wear face coverings, though Yolo County issued a health order Friday requiring them in public.
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