Remember the Flagstaff (AZ) officer who came under fire last week for delivering a jab to the face of a woman resisting arrest?
It appears that he very well may have been justified in throwing that punch, as she apparently assaulted him first as he tried to take her into custody.
A Flagstaff police officer caught on video punching a woman in the face said the woman kneed him several times, including in the groin, before he hit her, according to a police report released Thursday.
Officer Jeff Bonar, 28, was placed on administrative leave Wednesday shortly after video of the incident surfaced on Facebook. Bonar had gone to 30-year-old Marissa Morris’ home that afternoon to help a Coconino County sheriff’s deputy serve an eviction notice, he said, but ended up arresting her on suspicion of aggravated assault and resisting arrest.
In the report, Bonar wrote that he believed Morris had a warrant out for her arrest and he was trying to apprehend her when she began to struggle, kicking him multiple times in the groin and knees. The video posted by her boyfriend’s relatives shows Bonar striking Morris in the face after she tells him, “You cannot arrest me until I know I have a warrant.”
The Northern Arizona University Police Department has been asked to conduct an independent investigation into the incident.
According to Bonar’s arrest report, she was the aggressor in the incident.
Morris “appeared to be intoxicated on a stimulant drug and exerted an impressive amount of strength for a woman her size” as she kneed him in the groin and legs, according to Bonar. He wrote that he grabbed Morris by the neck and pushed her away to create space but she continued resisting, so he “struck her in the face with a closed right fist several times as distraction blows, with very minimal force.”
Bonar was attempting to arrest Morris for DWI warrants that he thought were still outstanding when she began resisting arrest. After attacking Bonar, she was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault and for resisting arrest.
Her now former neighbors seem to think that Officer Bonar’s actions were warranted in light of what they saw of the altercation, and if she did kick Bonar as claimed, then the minimal punch he delivered would seem to be a justified use of force.