A police department and sheriff’s office in northern California are investigating an incident caught on video, showing an officer wildly punching a teen who was lying on the ground while attempting to detain him.
According to Local 21 News, 14-year-old Elijah Tufono was being subdued by Rancho Cordova Police officer Brian Fowell after the teen was busted for having tobacco.
Tufono said the trouble began after he asked a stranger to purchase some tobacco for him. Once he received the tobacco, Tufono claims the officer approached him.
“That’s when the cop pulled up. And he asked me what was that in my hand. And I had gave him, as soon as he asked me that, I just gave it to him,” Elijah said.
Tufono admitted that he wasn’t completely truthful with the officer (because he was scared) but said the officer was confrontational with him, despite him handing over the tobacco.
“I did lie to him. And I didn’t cooperate. And I know that. And I made that mistake. But that didn’t give him no right to do what he did,” said Elijah.
The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office responded to this incident involving the teen, explaining in part: “It’s important to put video footage into context, especially in relation to a use of force incident… When the deputy approached the juvenile, the juvenile was uncooperative and refused to give the deputy basic identifying information.”
The teen claimed the officer tried to put handcuffs on him, without telling him why he was being detained.
“So, when he did that, I pulled my right hand back, and then that’s when he started getting aggressive and trying to fight,” Tufono said.
The department claims the teen resisted arrest, saying:” The juvenile became physically resistive at the time, causing the deputy to lose control of his handcuffs…The deputy attempted to maintain control of the juvenile without his handcuffs and while alone waiting for his partners to arrive and assist him.”
Tufono was eventually handcuffed and placed in the back of a patrol car but was ultimately cited and released.
The teen says that he forgives the officer for his actions, “I mean, I do forgive him. I have nothing against the cop. He was just doing his job, I guess,” Elijah said.
— Peter Morley (@morethanmySLE) April 29, 2020