A sheriff’s deputy in Marion County, Oregon, was caught on camera brutally assaulting a homeless man while his colleagues held the victim down, rendering him unable to move or defend himself.
The appalling scene, filmed by a photographer for local news station KGW, took place in a Detroit neighborhood where the police were reportedly searching for a missing pair of father and son who had not returned from their fishing trip.
The video showed four deputies grabbing the man, identified as Kevin Straw, and throwing him face-first to the ground. While one officer appeared to be straddling the victim’s back, the other two were seen holding down his limbs and forcing his arm behind his back.
That’s when things got even more disturbing.
A deputy then began repeatedly punching the 28-year-old in the head. According to the clip, the cop punched him at least 16 times as the man kept yelling, “I am not resisting,” before screaming for help and pleading for the blows to stop.
“I came to warn you about the cougar,” Straw screamed at one point.”There's a cougar. It's hurting people.”
The Marion County Sheriff's office said the victim was resisting the deputies and interfering in the search operation by shouting near a police command post and radio operations center, reported Oregon Live. The department claimed the cops told Straw to leave the area at least twice, but he kept coming back.
However, the law enforcement agency also said an internal investigation was being conducted and Deputy Jake Thompson, who punched the homeless man, had been reassigned to another position that didn’t involve patrolling.
As for Straw, he will reportedly receive a mental health evaluation, but its unclear if he has been charged with anything.
The video, which immediately went viral on the internet, has drawn attention of civil rights activists across the country.
“It looked like they were in pretty complete control, and yet a deputy proceeded to punch this man in the face 14 or 15 times,” said David Rogers, the head of the American Civil Liberties Union in Oregon. “It was incredibly disturbing.”
This homeless man is not violent. He's also mentally ill & thought he was helping the police.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) June 5, 2018
A huge cop then throws 14 blows, full strength, to the back of his head. These punches are illegal in the @UFC. They cause brain damage.
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Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Dania Maxwell