A criminal investigation has been launched into the “disturbing” actions of a Sacramento police officer who was videotaped punching a jaywalker in the face, authorities said.
The officer, whose name hasn’t been released, was placed on leave as authorities opened an administrative investigation into his actions.
On Tuesday, the Police Department released dash-cam video footage from the officer’s patrol cruiser showing the confrontation. (A neighbor’s cellphone video of the incident sparked public outrage when it was circulated on social media recently.)
“The actions of the involved Sacramento police officer are disturbing and do not appear to be reasonable based upon the circumstances,” the Police Department said in a statement. “The Sacramento Police Department holds itself to the highest professional standard and the actions that were observed are not indicative of the dedicated women and men who work for the Department.”
Police said the officer tried to stop the jaywalker just after 5 p.m. Monday as he crossed a street illegally near the intersection of Cypress Street and Grand Avenue in North Sacramento. The man, who later identified himself to reporters as Nandi Cain Jr., ignored the officer’s commands stop and walked away, police said.
As he walked off, the officer and Cain began arguing in the street, police said. Cain allegedly questioned the officer’s reasons for stopping him. During the argument, Cain, 24, removed his jacket, “challenging the officer to fight,” the Police Department said.
“The officer charged at the pedestrian to take him into custody,” the Police Department said. “For an unknown reason, the officer threw the pedestrian to the ground and began striking him in the face with his hand multiple times.”
Cellphone video of the confrontation shows Cain facing the officer and quickly slipping off his jacket.
Naomi Montaie, who filmed the interaction as it unfolded in front of her, screamed at Cain, saying, “Nephew, just listen.”
Seconds later, the officer approached Cain, grabbed his neck and took him down to the ground. The video shows the officer as he sat on Cain and hit him in the face.
Montaie yelled, “Why you beating him like that?”
As Cain lay on his side, the officer appeared to be twisting and pulling one of his arms.
Moments later, a second officer arrived and grabbed Cain’s other arm as they placed handcuffs on him.
Meanwhile, Montaie, who is Cain’s neighbor, continued to record the arrest, saying, “Oh Jesus, I’ve seen this, Lord.”
“Oh my God, why did you take him down like that?” she asked.
Cain told KTXL-TV that the officer demanded he take his hands out of his pocket and show him a weapon. He said the officer had his hand on his gun.
“So I took off my jacket to let him know, ‘I don’t have anything,’” he told the news station.
Cain said he was nervous because the officer had his hand on his weapon. When the officer took him down to the ground, Cain said he did not resist.
“I am not going to give this man any reason to kill me, basically to gun me down,” he told the news station.
After Cain was detained, a police supervisor reviewed video from the officer’s patrol cruiser and launched a personnel investigation, according to the Police Department.
“The preliminary investigation led the supervisor to believe that there were significant policy concerns and immediately notified his chain of command,” police said.