An officer with the Flagstaff police department in Arizona has been put on leave following the release of video footage taken by an eye witness that showed him punching a woman in the face during an arrest earlier this week.
As the Huffington Post reports:
The footage, shot and posted to Facebook on Wednesday, shows a woman struggling with two officers who apparently believe there is an outstanding warrant for her arrest. She can be heard on video saying the issue has already been resolved.
"You cannot arrest me until I know I have a warrant," she tells the officers as she struggles with them.
Suddenly, one of them strikes her in the face with a closed fist.
Watch the video, as presented on local affiliate ABC15 News in Flagstaff [caution: disturbing content]:
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It was the boyfriend of the assault victim, now identified as Marissa Morris, who shot the footage with his cellphone. The incident occurred after law enforcement reportedly arrived at Morris' residence to enforce an eviction notice which escalated when they tried to arrest Morris for the alleged warrant.
"You just fucking punched me in the face," Morris can be heard saying after the officer punches her.
In the wake of the viral video, Police Chief Kevin Treadway told reporters his department is now conducting an internal affairs investigation into the actions of the officer, identified as Jeff Bonar, and said he had also asked a nearby department to conduct a separate criminal investigation. "We are taking this very, very seriously," Treadway said.
Morris herself also talked to local reporters, saying it was both "hurtful" and "embarrassing" to be treated in such a way, especially by police who are "supposed to protect us." She described Bonar as "rude," "aggressive," and "completely disrespectful" towards her. Watch:
"They did not protect us," Morris said. "They ended up hurting me."