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Video shows deputy kicking man in head during arrest in San Bernardino County

Map of police pursuit in Victorville California. Starting point: 7th and Lincoln. Ending point: Toyota dealership.
Map of police pursuit
(Los Angeles Times)

A San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy is under criminal investigation after video showed him kicking a suspect in the head after the man appears to be surrendering during an arrest.

The deputy, who has not been identified, was taken off duty and placed on administrative leave, sheriff’s officials said. A criminal investigation to be reviewed by the district attorney is also underway.

“I want to ensure our community that it is our expectation that deputies respond to any incident professionally and in a manner that’s consistent with our training,” Undersheriff Shannon Dicus said Friday in a video posted on the Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook page.

The incident — described as “alarming” by Dicus — occurred in a Toyota dealership parking lot in Victorville shortly after midnight Wednesday and was captured on surveillance video. The video shows a man crawling out from under a truck and then crouching low while attempting to hide behind parked vehicles. At one point, another man — the sheriff’s deputy — runs toward the man while shining a flashlight on him, the video shows.

The man immediately raises his arms and lies down on the pavement. In the video, the deputy then approaches the man and, in a running kick, strikes the man’s head. He then kicks the man in the head a second time before handcuffing him. Several other deputies join the first to eventually take the man into custody.

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Sheriff’s officials said the interaction began about 12:40 a.m. Wednesday when a deputy tried to pull over a man who authorities say violated multiple traffic laws while riding his motorcycle near 7th and Lincoln streets in Victorville. A high-speed pursuit followed after the man, later identified as Willie C. Jones, did not stop, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Department.

Jones, 33, ran multiple stoplights and headed north in the southbound lanes of the 15 Freeway before exiting on La Paz Drive and ditching his motorcycle at the car dealership, the release said.

Deputies pursued Jones into the parking lot at the Toyota dealership, where video captured the interaction, which a watch commander who reviewed the video called “disturbing.”

Moments after Jones was handcuffed and surrounded by deputies, a sheriff’s supervisor arrived.

The security company that monitors surveillance for the Toyota dealership alerted the Sheriff’s Department that the incident had been recorded, sheriff’s officials said.

After the department’s criminal investigation into the deputy’s behavior, an internal investigation will determine whether there were any departmental violations.

Jones was treated for injuries at the scene. He was arrested and booked into the High Desert Detention Center on suspicion of felony evading. He has since been released on bail, according to jail records.

San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon — who announced his retirement Friday — said in a statement that the incident raises concerns.

“I expect my deputies to remain professional while engaging the public,” McMahon said.


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