The incident unfolded on the morning of September 26, but only came to light after the footage was obtained by local news station KOLD, which first published the recording Thursday. The alarming, eight-minute video begins with the unidentified deputy already wrestling with the teenager, whose name is Immanuel and who is seen sitting facing a corner and repeatedly yelling at the official to not hold him down.
The officer eventually slams the teenager facedown on the floor and holds him in the position, even after Immanuel is heard telling him that he will calm down as long as the officer releases him.
“I’m telling you to stop moving, but you still move!” the officer yells at the teen, who is later seen sitting against a refrigerator. Once Immanuel begins to respond, the deputy bends down and tells him to “shut the hell up.”
“I’ll raise my voice at you whenever the f**k I want, you understand?” he adds.
It’s at this moment that C.J., the 16-year-old recording the altercation, intervenes and calmly tells the deputy that Immanuel was only speaking in order to respond to his initial question. Reiterating his previous remarks, the deputy simply tells the teen to “shut the hell up” and go to his room.
The tense situation only continues to escalate, as the officer then decides to turn away from Immanuel and confront the filmer, repeatedly telling the teen that he “needs to stay the hell out of this.” The video later shows that C.J. was arrested by the deputy, and that while placing handcuffs on him, the officer slammed the teen’s head into the wall, despite his showing no signs of aggressive behavior.
The last few minutes of the incident were recorded by a third, unidentified teenager in the room.
Pima County Public Defender Joel Feinman, whose office is representing both Immanuel and C.J., told the Washington Post that the deputy opted to restrain Immanuel after finding that he was disturbing the peace. He also noted that both of his clients were jailed and charged with disorderly conduct.
“These are kids who have already been traumatized in some way,” Feinman told the outlet, stating that the contents of the recording are “horrific.”
“These are kids who live in a group home because they can’t live with their parents … This is exactly the type of person that law enforcement needs to protect and defend. Instead we see them being treated like they’re animals,” he added.
When KOLD showed the recording to the sheriff’s department, it was the very first time that officials were made aware of the incident. An internal investigation was launched shortly afterward. The Pima County Attorney’s Office dropped charges against both teens after the local station aired its story.