Recorded on a cellphone video punching a teenager in the head, a California police officer is under investigation for using force during the arrest.
Around 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Hemet police officers responded to a parking lot to investigate a panhandling complaint in the area. After confronting 19-year-old Edmund Franklin, the officers informed Franklin that he was trespassing and ordered him to leave. According to a police press release, Franklin complied and left the area.
At approximately 4:13 p.m., the police received another complaint stating that Franklin had returned to the area and was refusing to leave. A witness told Newsweek that Franklin sold candy to her outside a grocery store shortly before police confronted him again.
In a cellphone video recorded by a witness, a Hemet police officer grabbed Franklin while pushing him against a rail for shopping carts. Appearing to refer to his backpack, Franklin repeated, “I’ll take it off. I’m gonna take it off.”
Despite the fact that Franklin’s hand briefly touched the officer in the video, the teen clearly did not make any intentional use of force and did not appear to reach for any of the weapons on the officer. But immediately after Franklin’s hand touched the cop, the unidentified officer punched the teen in the side of the head.
Franklin was arrested for trespassing, resisting arrest, and attempt to disarm an officer. His bail was set at $10,000.
“We are reviewing the incident to include the social media posts and the Officer’s body worn camera video,” the police department said in a recent statement. “This incident, like any use of force incident involving a Hemet Police Officer is taken seriously and will be thoroughly investigated.”
The Hemet Police Department refuses to disclose the name of the officer who punched Franklin.