SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA) – The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has released video that appears to show a deputy punching a suspect in the head while he is down on the ground during an arrest last week.
The sheriff’s department Wednesday released a video of the incident which took place at around 1 a.m. on Jan. 26 in the area of Highland Avenue and Cedar Street.
The one-minute video shows a deputy struggling to hold down a suspect, later identified as 21-year-old Garardo Bernabe Vasquez, in the middle of the road. Within about 10 seconds, a sheriff’s cruiser pulls up and a second deputy jumps out to assist.
As the second deputy is helping to subdue the suspect, the first deputy appears to punch the suspect in the head. The two then work together to handcuff the man.
As they attempt to lift him up, the same deputy then kicks the suspect in the head twice, and then appears to stomp on his head once.
The deputy in question, who has not been named, was placed on administrative leave, the sheriff’s department reports.
Vasquez was arrested on charges of resisting/obstructing an officer. He has since been cited and released from custody.
An SBSD spokesperson told CBS2 the incident began when the deputy came upon Vasquez, a pedestrian, and conducted “a self-initiated pedestrian check.” What prompted the deputy to detain Vasquez was not disclosed.
“I am concerned with the level of force used in the video by one of my deputies,” said San Bernardino Sheriff John McMahon in a statement. “I expect our employees always to remain professional when contacting the public, who we serve. I can assure you that we take these matters very seriously and we will conduct a thorough and complete investigation. The deputy in question has been placed on paid administrative leave.”
The sheriff’s department did not confirm what injuries Vasquez may have sustained or whether he was unconscious. It’s unclear who shot the video.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call SBSD.