OAKLAND (CBS 5) — An eyewitness showed CBS 5 video of an arrest that occurred at a social services center in East Oakland Tuesday morning. While witnesses are saying deputies used excessive force, the department claims it was self-defense.

A man calling himself Ron shot the video on his cellphone. He did not want his identity revealed. “There was a lot of yelling, a lot of commotion,” he said.

Authorities said a pregnant woman got into a verbal altercation with employees at the center.

“She was asked by staff to leave and she refused to do so,” said Alameda County Sheriff spokesperson Sgt. J.D. Nelson.

The video shows the woman’s boyfriend stepped in to defend her. But as he talked to deputies, another deputy runs into frame with baton in hand. The deputy appears to hold the baton against the man’s neck. As the man goes down, deputies appear to knee him repeatedly.

“They kept hitting him and hitting him and he got put in handcuffs. He was handcuffed already, on the floor. It was a lot of witnesses, he was handcuffed. And they started kneeing him again and punching him on his head,” Ron said.

Referring to the video, Nelson said, “You’re only seeing a small snapshot of the thing.” The spokesman claims the man was resisting arrest, even threatening deputies at one point. He said all deputies could do was respond with force.

“I saw what looked to be a punch from the deputy and that’s certainly within policy,” Nelson said.

Ron said, “Oakland seems to have a policy where they will swing first, speak later.”

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department told CBS 5 it would investigate if an official complaint is filed.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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