GUERNEVILLE (KPIX 5) — A video has surfaced of a Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy punching a man he was trying to restrain in Guerneville.
The video shows two Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies wrestling on the ground with a man named Jonathan Carrozzo. Just as they get one of his hands behind his back, one of the deputies starts to punch Carrozzo.
The video shows the deputy punching him in the thigh first, and then in his chest. Another deputy appears to be shoving Carrozzo’s face into the ground.
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The Cotati man was booked for public drunkenness and resisting arrest.
An eyewitness captured footage of the incident last Saturday.
The Sheriff’s department was aware of the video, and says the punches were “distraction jabs” used to get people to stop what they’re doing.
“Anytime an officer uses force, it looks bad,” said Don Cameron, an expert on police tactics.
Cameron believes it was a justifiable use of force. “You have to remember, whenever a police officer is in a confrontation, there’s at least one gun involved, the one that they are wearing. You never know if the suspect is armed until you handcuff him and can search him,” he said.
Aristomeus Spanos, a protester in Thursday night’s anti-police brutality demonstration in San Francisco, disagrees with that assessment. “It looks fairly unnecessary to me,” he said.
“To distract him? I mean, a punch in the face is not a distraction, it’s an assault,” Spanos added.
Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Sgt. Cecile Foche told KPIX 5 that the circumstances surrounding the arrest and use of force will be investigated internally.
No complaint has been filed by Carrozzo.