WATCH: California Sheriffs Deputy Punches Subdued Man On Ground During Arrest

August 22, 2014

GUERNEVILLE, Calif. – Video has surfaced of a California police officer punching a man he was trying to restrain, reports CBS San Francisco.

The eyewitness cellphone video, which was taken Saturday, shows two unidentified Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies wrestling on the ground with a man named Jonathan Carrozzo, according to the station. As the officers manage to get Carrozzo’s hands behind his back, one of the deputies starts to punch him – first in the thigh, then in the chest. Meanwhile, the other deputy appears to be shoving Carrozzo’s face into the ground.

The station reports Carrozzo was ultimately booked for public drunkenness and resisting arrest.

The video is raising questions about the appropriate use of force by police.

The sheriff’s department told CBS San Francisco that they are aware of the video and said the officer was using “distraction jabs” to subdue Carrozzo.

“Anytime an officer uses force, it looks bad,” said Don Cameron, an expert on police tactics. He told the station that he believed the use of force was justifiable. “You have to remember, whenever a police officer is in a confrontation, there’s at least one gun involved, the one that [the officer] is wearing. You never know if the suspect is armed until you handcuff him and can search him.”

At an anti-police brutality demonstration in San Francisco on Thursday – marking the 5-month anniversary of the officer-involved fatal shooting of 28-year-old Alex Nieto – a protester who was shown the video didn’t agree with the use of “distraction jabs.”

“A punch in the face is not a distraction,” said Aristomeus Spanos. “It’s an assault.”

Sgt. Cecile Foche, spokesperson for the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department, said the circumstances surrounding Carrozzo’s arrest and the officers’ use of force will be investigated internally, the station reports.

Carrozzo has not filed a complaint.