A sheriff's deputy in Southern California has been taken off duty after surveillance video showed him kicking a suspect in the head after the man appeared to surrender, authorities said.
San Bernardino County Undersheriff Shannon Dicus addressed the incident in a video statement, saying that the deputy's actions were "alarming."
The deputy, who has not been identified, was placed on administrative leave. A criminal investigation, as well as an administrative investigation, is being conducted, Dicus said Friday.
In video obtained by TMZ, the suspect, identified by the sheriff's department as Willie Jones, is seen hiding underneath a vehicle at a Toyota dealership in Victorville, about 84 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
Jones eventually emerges from underneath the vehicle and walks toward a row of cars, the video shows. When he sees the deputy, Jones puts his hands in the air and drops to the ground. The deputy walks toward Jones and kicks him twice, striking him once in the head.
Several other deputies arrive, and Jones is handcuffed.
Dicus said the department was made aware of the surveillance video after a watch commander was contacted by the security company that monitors the car dealership parking lot. After watching the footage, the commander determined that the deputy's actions were "disturbing" and notified the sheriff's office station.
"It's unfortunate when incidents like these occur because it causes turmoil within our communities and equally amongst our deputies who pride themselves on providing professional service," Dicus said. "We take these matters seriously and want to ensure you that a thorough investigation will be conducted."
Dicus said the incident happened Wednesday just before 1 a.m. PT when a deputy attempted to stop Jones on his motorcycle "for various traffic violations." Jones failed to yield and engaged the deputy in a pursuit, according to authorities.
"The pursuit continued at a high rate of speed; Jones failed to stop at multiple traffic signals and entered the northbound lanes of the I-15 freeway. The suspect was in the northbound lanes traveling southbound, narrowly missing several head-on collisions with oncoming vehicles," Dicus said.
Jones got off the freeway, discarded his motorcycle near the car dealership, and fled on foot, according to the sheriff's department. Dicus said that deputies found him hiding in the dealership parking lot.
"A use of force occurred while deputies were attempting to take the suspect into custody," he said.
Jones was provided medical care and then booked on a charge of felony evading. Online jail records show that he has been released on bail.