Video shows off-duty officer appearing to pull gun on skateboarders

"Orange County Sheriff’s Department employees are expected to conduct themselves with professionalism on and off-duty," the department said of the incident.

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By Dennis Romero

An off-duty Southern California sheriff's investigator who can be seen in a video appearing to pull a handgun on teenage skateboarders has been put on leave.

The officer involved in the Oct. 12 clash with skateboarders at Ralphs Skate Court in San Clemente, California, was not identified. But in a statement Friday, the Orange County Sheriff's Department it has placed the employee on leave while it investigates the matter.

"Orange County Sheriff’s Department employees are expected to conduct themselves with professionalism on and off-duty," the department said. "We take this incident seriously and will fully investigate."

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Cellphone video shows a man, later identified as the off-duty investigator, confronting skateboarders at the park with what appears to be a gun in his hand. At one point a skater drops to his knees and puts his hands up.

NBC News cannot confirm what occurred before the incident captured on video.

Malcolm McClung, who witnessed the incident, told NBC Los Angeles that he and his brother's band was playing at the skate park that night when the man came over from a baseball field, apparently upset that the music was too loud.

"Put your skateboard down," the man at one point says to a skateboarder.

As the man loomed over the young person on his knees, one skater can be heard saying, "There's no need for that."

Neftalie Williams, a communications lecturer at the University of Southern California who has conducted research on skateboarding, said myths and stereotypes about the sport inspire some adults "to treat skateboarders in a manner adults wouldn't find acceptable for their children."

"Skateboarders at their home skate park enjoying a healthy activity deserve the same respect afforded to other sports and activities," he said by email.

Sheriff's officials said the results of its investigation would be turned over to the local district attorney's office for its consideration.

Suzanne Ciechalski and Shamar Walters contributed.