Video of a deputy arresting a man at gunpoint prompted a protest outside the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station on May 7, with activists from several community organizations condemning what they described as a “gross misuse of force.”

The arrest occurred April 30 near Division Street and Avenue J in Lancaster, and video of the arrest posted to social media showed a Black man, identified as 22-year-old Kennathan Williams, face down on the ground, with a deputy on the suspect’s back with his gun drawn and aimed at the back of the suspect’s head.

“Why was a deputy holding a gun to the youth’s head when he was already face down with his hands being cuffed by a second deputy? Why are Black and Latino people continually treated with disrespect and disregard?” Christian Green asked the crowd of about 100 protestors.

“We have to stand here now and defend the people in our community. They have a powerful militia, it’s called the sheriff’s department. We have a powerful militia, it’s called the power of the people,” youth activist Giovanni Pope told the cheering crowd.

According to press reports, sheriff’s officials said the deputy saw what he believed to be a drug deal occurring involving an armed Williams, who ran from the area. When the deputy caught up with Williams near a gas station, Williams laid down and was detained at gunpoint and arrested on suspicion of felony possession of a loaded and concealed firearm.

While the May 7 protest was triggered by the April 30 arrest, it may have been part of a larger call to action by Cancel the Contract, a grassroots coalition that demands that Lancaster and Palmdale leaders cancel citywide contracts with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.