Officer Placed on Leave After Video Captured Him Punching a Woman in the Face: Cops
Shocking video appears to show an Arizona police officer punching a woman during an arrest.
A cop identified by authorities as Flagstaff PD Officer Jeff Bonar is seen in cell phone footage punching a woman in the face as she demanded to know if there was a warrant out in her name. The officer has now been placed on leave, authorities said.
Flagstaff PD said the incident occurred Wednesday as police arrested a "somewhat uncooperative" woman, whom they identified as 30-year-old Marissa Morris.
"During the arrest the female, who appears somewhat uncooperative was struck in the face by the officer. Our agency is very concerned by what is depicted in this video. We are immediately initiating an internal investigation into this incident," Flagstaff PD said in a statement.
Morris' boyfriend, Jimmy Sedillo, told KPHO that they were moving their belongings across the street when at some point, an officer tried to arrest her on a warrant.
Sedillo said Morris tried to explain to the officer that there was some sort of mistake. In the video, which was recorded by a witness, Morris appears to refuse to go with Bonar until he shows her a warrant.
"He literally tackled her in front of my mom's house," Sedillo told the station.
Sedillo's voice, and that of a woman, can be heard yelling in outrage behind the camera after the punch. And Morris soon begins to sob.
She was arrest on charges of aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest. She has since been released.
"They wouldn't even run my name," Morris said in an interview after her release from jail. "Is said you can not arrest me...until I know the reason..."
A Facebook video of the incident has been viewed more than 100,000 times.
On Thursday, Flagstaff Police Chief Kevin Treadway addressed the incident in a press briefing.
"It is our intent to conduct a very detailed and a thorough investigation into this matter," Treadway said.
Treadway said Bonar believed he recognized Morris as having failure to appear warrants. He said Bonar was attempting to detain Morris while he ran a check for the warrants.
Morris said she tried to explain to officers that she'd taken care of the warrants. Now, she said, she feels she being punished a second time.
"My kids are gonna have to deal with this, my family's gonna have to deal with this. It's pretty embarrassing, actually," Morris said. "It makes me feel like... nothing."
In the end, Treadway confirmed the warrants had been previously served.
"We owe Marissa, her family, the Flagstaff community, the officer and the department a full and complete investigation," Bonar said.