Two Burlington, Vt., police officers tased Shane Langevin and repeatedly punched him while he was lying facedown on a street Sunday night.
Officers Ryan Rabideau and Ethan Czyzewski were filmed (video below) by a witness who identifies himself as "Chris."
"That's when everyone took out their cameras," Chris told WPTZ. "That's when the two cops got on top of [Langevin] and they started to throw some punches and it looked like it was in the back of the head... I was blown away by the behavior of the cops."
Burlington Police Department Deputy Chief Bruce Bovat claims the multiple punches were "distractionary strikes" to get Langevin to free his hands.
"The strikes were just that, to try to gain control to get the arms out from under him and put him in handcuffs," added Deputy Chief Bovat.
Burlington police claim Langevin allegedly hit another man in the head, refused to put his hands behind his back for police, allegedly hit Officer Czyzewski in the jaw and elbowed Officer Rabideau, who tasered him.
However, witnesses screamed at the police when it appeared that the Taser remained on Langevin for a prolonged time.
Officer Czyzewski wrote in his police report that he threw "approximately seven downward fist strikes into Langevin's back."
According to the Burlington Free Press, Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling stated in a press release: "These strikes are consistent with officer training and are referred to as 'distractionary strikes' done in hopes of distracting or stunning someone to assist in gaining control. Throughout the encounter Langevin was asked and ordered to comply and stop resisting."
Langevin, who was charged with simple assault, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and two counts of simple assault of a cop, pleaded not guilty on Monday.