Clip of California cop striking boy sparks uproar

A viral video showing a California sheriff’s deputy appearing to punch a teenager has spurred an investigation following outcry.

The clip of Elijah Tufono, 14, being subdued by the Rancho Cordova Police Department officer has been viewed over 7m times on Twitter.

Police said the teenager was resisting arrest, but that they would investigate the incident.

The footage was first posted online by Elijah’s sister, Yralina.

The incident has drawn heavy criticism online, including from public figures. Julian Castro, a former 2020 Democratic candidate for president, and the actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus were among those who retweeted video and called for an end to police “violence”.

A statement from the Rancho Cordova Police Department said the video should be put “into context”.

“The juvenile was unco-operative and refused to give the deputy basic identifying information,” it said. “He told the deputy he was 18-years-old.

“The deputy attempted to maintain control of the juvenile without his handcuffs and while alone waiting for his partners to arrive and assist him.”

The department and the sheriff’s office are investigating “the use of force” in the arrest, it said.

The boy in the video has spoken out about the footage, telling Fox40: “That cop, he did what he did but don’t hold anything against him because that’s between me and him.

“Sir, I’m sorry for the way I acted towards you and for not co-operating, and I just hope we can meet again and be on better terms.”

‘He was very scared’

His sister posted further clips from the incident on Facebook, where she said that he was not resisting arrest.

“He was simply trying to get his arms free because he was in pain,” she said, adding: “My brother has a serious heart condition that can be triggered very easily by getting hit in his chest or back.”

Later, on Twitter, she added: “He’s a kid and has never been in any kind of trouble with the law. He was very scared and in so much pain.

“He was charged with resisting arrest. But what was he even being arrested for? For having a Swisher?”

A Swisher Sweet is a brand of flavoured cigar in the US. The minimum age for smoking in California is 21.

The teenager was released into his guardians’ custody after the deputy found “tobacco products” on him.

His uncle, Justin Tufono, shared a different clip on Instagram in which the boy can be heard saying he is not fighting the officer.

This is my 14 year old nephew being shoved into the ground by a Rancho Cordova police officer triple his size. 14 FUCKING YEARS OLD! And he’s handling him like a man equal his size! For what? Possession of a swisher? Is all this shit really necessary? He already had him held down and he felt the need to punch him AFTER shoving his face into the ground!? He acts like he fucking hurt somebody! I remember telling him a while back that he may be half black, but the world will just see him as BLACK and that he has to walk and experience the world in a very different way… didn’t expect him to experiencing this so early. #justice4jahjah

A post shared by Justin Tufono (@justin.tufono) on

End of Instagram post by justin.tufono

This is the latest in a line of accusations being levied against police officers for being heavy-handed in their interactions with young people, especially African Americans.

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