SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) — A local law enforcement agency is facing national criticism. Millions of people have viewed the viral video on social media of a Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputy kicking a man in the back during an arrest.
The incident happened in March in South Sacramento. The video has seen renewed interest after Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe tweeted the video Friday. In his caption, Sharpe questions the deputy’s use of force: “I thought all you had to do was comply and you wouldn’t be shot or brutalized by police.”
I thought all you had to do was comply and you wouldn’t be shot or brutalized by police. 🤔🤔 pic.twitter.com/b1lVsuRx5i
— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) August 28, 2020
In the video obtained by CBS13, you can see a man with his hands behind his head when a deputy appears to kick him in the back. Community activist Berry Accuis said the video highlights why people are protesting.
“This to me is something fireable, this to me is a suspension, this misconduct that continues to happen with police around the nation are things that people continue to talk about and no one wants to talk to us about it,” he explained.
“You kick him the back for what? That is the kind of things that not only frustrates me but it shows again why we are fighting, why we are asking for change, why we are saying defund the police,” Accuis said.
Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office said the incident was a case of mistaken identity. According to investigators, the man matched the description of a suspect with a felony arrest warrant. Deputies and officers from the Sacramento Police Department assigned to the Post Release Community Supervision team were conducting surveillance on a suspect.
According to spokesperson Sgt. Tess Deterding, the team observed the suspect’s grandmother leave an establishment. The man who was arrested by the police left the same location after the suspect’s grandmother.
“This male matched the physical description of the suspect and the team doing surveillance reasonably believed this individual was the suspect,” said Deterding.
Deterding said the man on video did not follow immediate commands.
“He was told numerous times to turn away from the deputies and step backwards toward the officers but that command was ignored as the male continued to yell numerous times demanding deputies shoot him,” said Deterding. “Ultimately, what you see on the video is a deputy kicking the male in the back in an effort to get him to the ground. This is not a tactic taught to our deputies, nor is it an appropriate use of force under the circumstances.”
According to Deterding, officers realized the man was not the suspect they were looking for after they arrested him. An internal investigation into the incident determined the officer used excessive force.
“An administrative investigation was completed and the kick to the back was deemed an inappropriate and an excessive use of force at the conclusion of the investigation. The deputy was disciplined for his actions,” she said.
The sheriff’s office will not disclose what actions were taken. Deterding said the actions by the officer does not fall under the use of force bill SB 1421 because there was no serious injury.
“We are prohibited, by law, from discussing specifics related to discipline as that is contained in a peace officer’s confidential personnel file,” she said.
According to Deterding, the man did not file a complaint with the office. Accuis contacted the man when the incident first happened. He said the man was concerned with clearing his name from the charge of resisting arrest. Accuis explained he also did not want to repeatedly relive the incident.
He believes the mistaken identity, use of force and lack of transparency on the actions taken against the deputy highlights the problems he continues to fight against.
“We fought for a law to be able to tell us, let’s hear the transparency. What happened to this officer?” he said “You just don’t know what happens. It becomes another hashtag, it becomes another social media post and we get to live with those officers waiting to see if they do it again to someone else.”