The Flagstaff Police Department is being pressured by civil rights leaders in Arizona to fire one of its officers after a shocking video showed him punching a woman in the face Wednesday evening.
via NY Daily News:
The video posted on YouTube shows officer Jeff Bonar punching Flagstaff resident Marissa Morris in the face with a closed fist while trying to arrest her. Bonar, who has since been placed on paid administrative leave, was reportedly there to evict Morris from her mobile home.
On Friday, Morris joined Rev. Jarrett Maupin and other community leaders at a press conference outside Flagstaff City Hall to condemn Bonar’s actions and announce that they will call on the Department of Justice to look into his violent conduct.
“Anyone else in any work force would be fired if they hit anybody,” a visibly distraught Morris told reporters. “They should protect us, not hurt us. It’s hurtful, it’s embarrassing, it’s the people who are supposed to protect. They ended up hurting me.”
Maupin told the Daily News Morris suffered a concussion and bruising from the beat down, which he called “completely unprovoked.”
“To know that this officer is on paid leave is disgusting and disturbing,” Maupin said. “If people cannot be moved by black men and women getting assaulted by police, then this is a white woman who was struck down like an animal. This shows how systemic and terrible the situation really is.”
The Flagstaff Police Department has launched an internal investigation and the Northern Arizona University Police Department is also looking into the incident. Maupin told The News he will send a letter to the Justice Department in hopes of getting it to conduct a more sweeping probe.
“We’re concerned about other law enforcement officers that were there that didn’t intervene,” Maupin said.
Bonar, a three-year department veteran, claims Morris spat him in the face and kneed him in the groin before he punched her. He also told supervisors he believed Morris was being sought on an outstanding warrant for driving under the influence. That warrant, it turned out, had already been resolved.
Morris was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer and resisting arrest after the Wednesday incident. She was released on her own recognizance.
The violent episode was caught on camera by Morris’ brother-in-law who can be heard in the video yelling, “Hey, hey, you can’t hit a girl like that.”
“Without the footage, this would never have been investigated,” Maupin said. “(Morris) is very blessed that someone was there to record that.”
Watch the video below.