A Southern California sheriff’s deputy is under criminal investigation after he was recorded on video kicking a pursuit suspect in the head while the man appeared to be surrendering.
The San Bernardino County deputy, a member of the department since April 2016, has been placed on paid administrative leave. NBCLA obtained video of the altercation in a car dealership parking lot that shows what happened at the end of the motorcycle chase.
“This incident raises concerns. I expect my deputies to remain professional while engaging the public,” Sheriff John McMahon said in a statement.
The suspect was riding a motorcycle early Wednesday when he failed to pull over for a traffic stop and led the deputy on a high-speed chase on Interstate 15 and streets near Victorville.
He eventually ditched the motorcycle and hid at a car dealership.
The security camera video shows a man emerging from underneath a car, putting his hands up and then getting on his knees. The man begins to lay flat on the ground when the deputy takes two quick steps and kicks the man in the head. The man rolls over slightly and the deputy kicks the man in the head a second time.
A second deputy runs into view and assists in handcuffing the man.
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“Due to this being an active investigation, no further details are being released about the incident,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Jodi Miller said Saturday.
Undersheriff Shannon Dicus provided a statement on the investigation in a video released Friday evening. The sheriff's department was contacted about the video by the security company that monitors the parking lot, he said.
"A watch commander reviewed the video and immediately determined the deputy's actions were disturbing," Dicus said. "It's unfortunate when incidents like these occur because it causes turmoil within our communities and equally amongst our deputies who pride themselves on providing professional service. We take these matters seriously and want to ensure you that a thorough investigation will be conducted."
The department’s report on the criminal investigation will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for consideration of charges. A internal investigation will take place to determine whether the deputy violated any department policies.
The motorcyclist, identified by sheriff’s officials as 33-year-old Willie Jones, was treated at the scene for injuries before being arrested on suspicion of felony evading.