SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A San Jose Police officer seen in cell phone video kicking and dragging a woman across a parking lot during a recent arrest has been placed on administrative leave, pending an internal affairs investigation of the incident.

The arrest happened on Wednesday in the McDonald’s parking lot on East Santa Clara Street near U.S. 101.

A Door Dash worker was picking up an order when he noticed a commotion involving police and started recording. Seconds into the video, the officer is seen kicking a woman who is on her knees.

He then tackles the woman while his partner officer points a gun at her. A passenger and children in the car can be heard crying out before bystanders start shouting at the officers.

The first officer handcuffs the woman behind her back and then drags her across the pavement face first.

“If anyone wanted a prime example of use of excessive force by a police officer, this incident is one,” said LaDoris Cordell, a retired judge and a former San Jose Independent Police Auditor who has reviewed police use of force cases for the city.

“She is kneeling on the ground, there is no resistance. The officer then kicks her in the abdomen. He grabs her and drags her across the asphalt so her face is dragging on the ground to locate her away from the car.  Again, another excessive use of force,” she said.

Police said the officers conducted the car stop because the vehicle was wanted for evading officers on July 18th, and again earlier on Wednesday. But a police statement did not say why the vehicle was suspicious.

The statement released by the department did say, “Officers used force during the arrest after the suspect failed to comply with their commands. The department has initiated an internal investigation into this incident.”

“It’s important to understand, and for the public to understand fully, what exactly happened here. Having said that, it’s not obvious that justifies the use of force we see in this video,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.
Mayor Liccardo said he asked Police Chief Eddie Garcia to immediately release officer’s body cam video of the McDonald’s incident.
The incident is the latest in a series of controversies to hit the San Jose Police Department, including excessive force allegations stemming from Black Lives Matter protests in early June and reports of a secret Facebook group on which officers exchanged racist posts. Four officers are currently on leave in connection with the investigation into the private Facebook group.
Cordell told KPIX 5 the incident points to a larger problem within the department.
“This is not, in my view, about a bad apple. This is about a bad culture,” Cordell said.
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