A Flagstaff (AZ) police officer is under fire for throwing a jab into the face of a noncompliant female suspect as she resisted arrest.
A Flagstaff police officer has been placed on administrative leave after a video showing him punching a woman in the face surfaced Wednesday on Facebook, according to a police spokesman.
The Flagstaff Police Department “became aware” of the video, which shows Officer Jeff Bonar striking the woman during a Wednesday afternoon arrest, about 7:30 p.m., police Sgt. Cory Runge said in a statement.
“Our agency is very concerned by what is depicted in this video,” Runge said. “We are immediately initiating an internal investigation into this incident.”
Flagstaff resident Jimmy Sedillo identified the woman in the video as his girlfriend when contacted by The Arizona Republic. He said the pair had received an eviction notice the previous week, and Wednesday was their deadline to leave.
The woman in the video was apparent identified by Officer Bonar as someone he recognized as having a warrant out for her arrest during a home eviction.
Instead of allowing herself to be taken into custody so that they could get things sorted out, she decided to argue with the officer and resisted arrest. He told her multiple times to comply, she just kept arguing.
One thing that’s very important to note about this camera angle is that we can’t see the hands of the officer or the woman or the deputy, thanks to the position of the porch railings.
It isn’t known how long the woman had been resisting arrest before the man started rolling the camera, but we do know that she had been resisting at least 32 second before the officer delivers a short jab that rocks her head back.
She’s clearly surprised by the punch, as are the people on the porch, who scream at the officer that he “can’t hit a girl like that.”
She still keeps trying to yank her hands away from Officer Bonar, who is still trying to cuff her. Bonar informs her that if she doesn’t comply he’s going to use his taser. The relatively stoic older deputy gets control of her left arm and brings it behind her back, they take her to the ground in a seated position as she continues to resist, repeatedly screaming “I didn’t do anything.”
They get her cuffed as family members on the porch try to claim that she not longer had a warrant, but can’t seem to provide any evidence to support their claim.
Even cuffed she still resists, putting her feet under or on the SUV in front of her and jamming her back against the porch so she is wedged and can’t be lifted. She is warned by Bonar that if she doesn’t stop resisting that she is going to face additional charges.
She continues to argue that she isn’t under arrest.
A third deputy comes up, and he and Bonar pull the woman to her feet and drag her away as she continues to try to resist, screaming that she’s not under arrest and that she doesn’t have a warrant.
She continues screaming and resisting all the way down the driveway, down the street, and appears to fight the attempts of two officers and a deputy to be placed into a squad car to be taken to the station. Eventually they get her loaded into the vehicle as she continues to resist, and the video ends.
On the surface, this looks pretty bad for Officer Bonar. Based on the camera angle we have, it looks like he delivers the jab without reason or provocation, even though she is clearly resisting.
The think is, we can’t see her hands or feet. From all we know, the woman kicked the officer, stomped his foot, hit him as she struggled (she almost clipped the white-haired deputy early in the video), or tried to claw him with her fingernails. We simply don’t know why the officer threw the jab, and I’m not aware of what the Flagstaff PD’s use-of-force guidelines say about the use of strikes on a non-compliant suspect.
It’s going to be very interesting to see how the internal investigation into this incident pans out. The video shows a clearly non-complaint woman actively resisting arrest, but the camera angle we have doesn’t seem to show an act of aggression by the woman against the officer that would seem to justify a punch.