An incident between an Arizona sheriff’s deputy and a 15-year-old quadruple amputee is now under investigation.
The incident occurred in September at a group home in the Tucson area. Another teen, a 16-year-old who had been eating cereal, recorded the violent interaction on his phone. The footage was sent to KOLD News 13 from the Pima County Public Defender’s Office.
Apparently, the 15-year-old boy kicked over a trash can and verbally threatened a worker, leading a Pima County Sheriff’s deputy to arrive at the group home.
In the eight-minute footage, the deputy is seen towering over the teen, who reportedly wound up at the home after he was abandoned by his family. The deputy shouts at the teen and swears at him while the young man, who has no limbs, sits in a corner by the refrigerator. That followed the deputy wrestling the teen to the floor and cursing at him.
Afterward, the deputy arrested the 16-year-old who recorded the incident. Both teens were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct. They were booked into juvenile jail in the case, which is being prosecuted by the Pima County Attorney’s Office.
“I would be horrified if an officer treated my children this way,” said Megan Page, chief assistant to Pima County Public Defender Joel Feinman. “And these kids are already in the traumatic situation of being in [Department of Child Safety] custody and they’re not even in a stable home environment. So I think it’s absolutely horrific.”
When the footage was presented by the news station to the PCSD, the internal affairs department, which had previously been unaware of the footage, reacted equivocally.
“It’s difficult to really predict but obviously there are a number of outcomes that could occur following an internal affairs investigation,” said Byron Gwaltney of the sheriff’s office.
But for Feinman, who said the probe could take up to two weeks, he says rarely seen videos such as these serve as a teachable moment.
“Men with badges should not be acting this way,” he told the news station. “Men and women who do act this way should not have badges and guns.”
Meanwhile, strong reactions from the public have poured out online.
“That’s just awful! The Deputy needs to be fired and prosecuted.”
“I hope people realise that there is no justification for this period. The one one young man has no limbs, so where’s the threat? And the other young man put his cereal down and was following orders, so why did his face have to get pushed into the wall? Law enforcement has got to do better. People are tired of justice not being served, and are going to start resorting to street justice.”
“I don’t feel safe with this deputy in my state he better see prison time.”