San Diego police said they have launched an internal investigation after two of their officers were recorded on video repeatedly punching a Black man during an arrest this week, reports NBC News.
The witness who recorded the incident Wednesday said she recognized the man being hit in the head and legs as a “harmless” neighborhood vagrant. She said she couldn’t believe what happened after officers investigated the man, whom they accused of urinating in public.
“I see him around all the time. He’s harmless. He’s just homeless,” the woman, Nicole Bansal, 34, of La Jolla, said Thursday. “He’s very easy to recognize because he always has a big orange life vest on.”
A police spokesman, Lt. Shawn Takeuchi, said Thursday that the Internal Affairs Unit is investigating and reviewing body camera video of the incident, which began about 9 a.m. when officers on patrol “witnessed a man urinating in public.” They then tried to speak to the man. Police declined to name the man or say whether he is homeless.