A Westminster, California police officer has been placed on administrative leave after cellphone video captured him punching a handcuffed woman twice in the face, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The footage, which was captured on Wednesday afternoon, shows Ciomara Garcia, 34, being held down by two officers when one of them punches her twice in the face. The other officer, as well as a third officer standing nearby, immeditately restrain him in an attempt to keep the situation from escalating.
According to the Westminster Police Department, officers responded to the scene following a report that Garcia had allegedly assaulted another woman who was trying to rescue a dog running in the street. Upon arriving at the scene, police detained and handcuffed Garcia, who officials said had showed signs of being under the influence and already had an outstanding felony bench warrant for a vandalism charge.
“While waiting for paramedics, Garcia was not compliant and she became combative with the officers,” the department said in a written news release. “While trying to control Garcia, a WPD Officer used force and struck Garcia two times in the face with his fist.”
Garcia was taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation. No injuries were reported. She has since been booked into Orange County Jail on the arrest warrant for vandalism, and is suspected of assault and battery, being under the influence of a controlled substance, resisting arrest, and assault on an officer, per police.
The officer who struck her was placed on paid administrative leave pending an internal affairs investigation that will include a review of cell phone video that captured the incident.
“The Westminster Police Department is well aware of portions of the video circulating on social media,” the department said in a statement. “The Westminster Police Department considers this a serious event and will ensure that this investigation will be guided by the law and the truth.”