A now-viral video from Rancho Cordova incensed Twitter users on Tuesday, as an unidentified officer with the city’s police department was caught aggressively manhandling a 14-year-old boy for the entire 15 seconds of the recording.
CW: Police Violence— Rebecca Kavanagh (@DrRJKavanagh) April 28, 2020
Cell phone video shows a police officer in Rancho Cordova, California, slamming a 14-year-old child's face and body into the pavement, then punching him in the head repeatedly, after accusing him of smoking marijuana, yesterday.pic.twitter.com/LSzjXW9DPI
According to criminal defense attorney Rebecca Kavanagh, the boy, who appears to be less than half the officer’s weight, was confronted by the officer on Monday and accused of smoking marijuana. The lawyer reported that while the child was not charged with marijuana possession, he was booked by police on a charge of resisting arrest.
“He has a serious heart condition and this sort of brutal assault could have had fatal consequences. He is still suffering chest pain,” Kavanagh detailed. She also revealed that the teen’s family is calling for the officer to be fired and criminal charges to be brought against him for the April 27 incident.
The Rancho Cordova Police Department released a media statement Tuesday evening addressing the situation and providing the officer’s perspective on the arrest. According to the department, the “Problem Oriented Policing (POP) Officer” observed “what he believed to be a hand-to-hand exchange between an adult and juvenile.”
Somehow, the cop lost sight of the adult and approached the 14-year-old, who was allegedly “uncooperative and refused to give the deputy basic identifying information.” The POP officer claims the boy also told him he was 18 years old and that he was “physically resistive” when he attempted to detain the suspect, “causing the deputy to lose control of his handcuffs.”
The departmental explanation appears to contend the deputy was attempting to “maintain control” of the lightweight teen until his partners could arrive.
“Ultimately, the deputy recovered tobacco products from the 14-year-old juvenile, which is presumably the reason for his resistance. The juvenile was cited and released to his guardians,” noted the Rancho Cordova Police Department’s statement.
Former US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro called for “immediate action” to take place against the officer over the incident, which he described as a “beating” in his Twitter repost of the video. Others outraged by the depicted scene are urging their fellow netizens to flood the police department’s service line during its business hours to advocate for the officer’s removal, for criminal charges to be brought against him or both.