A California man working as a deputy with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department has been fired after he was seen in a viral video punching a 14-year-old boy. Officials said the eight-year veteran of the department was on paid administrative leave during the internal investigation. No further details about the investigation have been revealed yet. Also, the deputy's name hasn't been disclosed.
The firing comes after a video surfaced of the April 27 incident in which an officer is seen on top of the teen, punching him as he lies on the ground. The video immediately went viral following which the sheriff's office launched an investigation.
The unnamed Rancho Cordova officer had faced immediate backlash for being insensitive during the scuffle with the teenager after the video went viral. The investigation into the incident finally pronounced the officer responsible for the inhuman act, following which he was terminated on Thursday. "After an administrative investigation (related to the incident), the deputy was terminated from employment," the sheriff's office said in a statement.
The incident took place on April 27 in which an officer is seen on top of the teen, punching him as he lies on the ground. The officer reportedly witnessed the 14-year-old take a tobacco product from an adult. When questioned, the sheriff's office claimed the boy refused to cooperate, lied about his age, and resisted physically. According a statement on the police department's website in April, the teen initially told the deputy he was 18 years old and the deputy later recovered tobacco products from him.
That's apparently when the physical altercation started. The video of the incident was posted on Twitter on April 28 and within days was viewed more than 2 million times. At that time the sheriff's department and Rancho Cordova Police Department had said that they were investigating use of force by the deputy "in order to gain a complete and thorough understanding of the events that took place during this incident."
Although an investigation was launched immediately, the video drew criticism from different corners for days. Senator Kamala Harris called it a "horrific abuse of power." At the time, Rancho Cordova Police Chief Kate Adams said the boy has expressed remorse and wanted to meet with the officer. It's unclear if that meeting ever happened.
The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department said the officer did not return to work after the incident and was on paid leave during the investigation. However, the Sacramento County Deputy Sheriffs' Association said in a statement that it did not agree with the officer's termination as it feels that the viral video shows only a brief portion of the incident and not what actually led to the altercation.