Several bystanders yelled at a police officer after he took down a male suspect, and struck him several times in Vallejo, California, on March 10 (video below).
"The kid surrendered," one witness told KPIX. "The cop, on the other hand, came up right behind him. He immediately dove on the kid and started wailing on him. Come on now, that's not policing."
A clerk at a nearby gas station reportedly called the police about a man making his fingers into the shape of a gun and threatening people.
One the gas station clerks recalled the situation to KNTV:
At that time, [the suspect] was turning around with his fingers like he was shooting people. I was scared, like, what if [the suspect] really has a gun on him? And what if he's not [inaudible], and he pulls out a gun and starts shooting people? ... [After the officer arrived], I just thought it was police brutality, and I wasn't sure what happened, but that was unnecessary force.
Witnesses said the officer chased the male suspect for several minutes until the suspect surrendered by sitting on the median in the street.
The suspect shouted, "I am God! I am God!" as the officer repeatedly punched him with his fists and a flashlight.
A bystander yelled, "Police brutality!"
As the officer continued to hit the man, the bystanders cursed at him. At one point, the officer pulled his gun on the witnesses, and swore at them.
More police arrived to push back the bystanders, who grew more agitated as the officer continued to beat the man.
Police trainer Don Cameron, who watched the video, told KPIX: "Basically that’s what they’re trained to do. When we’re down on the ground, we want to get the person in custody as quickly as we can, and we use personal weapons to do it."
Former Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan was concerned about the officer pulling a gun on the bystanders, and by the officer hitting the man after more police arrived.
"I understand the officer needed to try to keep the people from getting close to him," Jordan told the news station. "I don’t necessarily agree that’s the best use of force. It does look bad. It does appear inappropriate."
The Vallejo Police Department's Internal Affairs division is investigating the video, and the officer's foul language.
The unidentified suspect was charged with being "under the influence" and "resisting arrest."
Raw video: This video contains violence and profanity.