FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Another sensationalized piece of news is traveling the web today showing a Flagstaff police officer punching a woman during a struggle. Officer Jeff Bonar has been placed on administrative leave by the police department while they investigate the incident.
A man identified as Jimmy Sedillo said his brother-in-law, Danny Paredes, recorded the video. He said the woman in the video is his girlfriend, (possibly with the name Marissa, or something similar).
Here are the details included in the report and observable in the video:
- Sedillo and his girlfriend were being evicted. The date to vacate the premises was Wednesday.
- Bonar and other LEO’s came to ensure Sedillo and his girlfriend complied with the eviction order, and to lock up when they left.
- Sedillo acknowledged his girlfriend had a warrant for her arrest, although early in the video he didn’t seem to know.
- The video was shot from an elevated view. Only the upper torso of Bonar and the girlfriend can be seen.
- Although their hands are not in view of the video, there was clearly a struggle over something.
- A male is heard saying what sounds like, “Marissa, stop fighting with them.”
- The female (girlfriend) can be heard repeatedly saying, “You cannot arrest me. … You cannot arrest me until I know I have a warrant. … I know my laws, you cannot arrest me.”
- The video portion of the resistance continued for about 30 seconds before the officer is seen punching her. It is unknown how long she resisted before the video began.
- After the officer strikes her during the resistance, bystanders are heard responding objectionably due to her gender.
The Flagstaff Police Department “became aware” of the video about 7:30 p.m. MT, police Sgt. Cory Runge said in a statement.
“Our agency is very concerned by what is depicted in this video,” Runge said. “We are immediately initiating an internal investigation into this incident.”
Sedillo identified the woman in the video as his girlfriend when contacted by The Arizona Republic. He said the pair had received an eviction notice the previous week, and Wednesday was their deadline to leave.
“She had a warrant a few weeks ago,” Sedillo said. He still assumed she had a warrant. Details regarding the warrant were not disclosed.
USA Today reported that Sedillo, his 3- and 9-year-old children, mother, niece and brother-in-law, Danny Paredes, watched his girlfriend get hit and tackled.
“It was just shocking,” Paredes said. “I pulled out my camera immediately.”
The video later shows an official who appears to be from the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office helping Bonar hold the woman down and arrest her as she cries, “I didn’t do anything, I didn’t do anything.”
Flagstaff police said they would release further details “as the investigation progresses.”
Many police agencies teach officers to deliver a stunning blow like this when an arrestee is resisting. We will soon find out if the Flagstaff Police Department is among them.