A disturbing eight-minute cellphone video of an Arizona sheriff's department deputy tackling and cursing at a 15-year-old boy with no limbs at a group home has prompted an internal affairs investigation.
The incident sparked an internal affairs investigation by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, The Washington Post reported. Deputy James Allerton, a spokesman for Pima County Sheriff's Department, told the Arizona Republic on Friday that the deputy, Manuel Van Santen, was placed on administrative leave.
Allerton said Van Santen is an 11-year veteran of the agency, the newspaper reported.
The Sept. 26 incident was ignited when the 15-year-old, who was in a group home after being abandoned by his family, allegedly knocked over a garbage can and verbally threatened a worker, KOLD reported.
Van Santen was called to the home to restore order, the television station reported.
In the video, Van Santen is seen holding the boy down for more than a minute as the teen struggles to break free, the Republic reported. It is not clear how long the incident lasted, as the video began in the middle of the struggle.
The deputy was not wearing a body camera, the Post reported.
The deputy is shown in the video kneeling next to the amputee and putting the teen in a headlock, the Post reported. The teen can be heard becoming more upset, asking the deputy not to hold him down.
When Van Santen loosened his grip, the boy attempted to break free, the newspaper reported. The boy did not get far before the deputy tackled him, wrapping his arms around the teen to subdue him.
Pima County public defender Joel Feinman told the Post the incident likely would not have come to light if it had not been recorded. Feinman said the 16-year-old boy who recorded the incident had his head pushed into a wall by deputies, the newspaper reported.
“These are kids who have already been traumatized in some way,” Feinman, whose office is representing both boys, told the Post.
“Men with badges should not be acting this way,” Feinman told the television station. “Men and women who do act this way should not have badges and guns.”
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