STOCKTON (AP/CBS SF) — A California correctional officer faces charges after allegedly hitting a handcuffed man in an assault that prosecutors say was recorded on surveillance video.
Video of correctional officer Matthew Mettler, employed by the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, striking a restrained man in a spit hood has the district attorney’s office on the lookout for other instances of assaults by police officers.
The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s office released a soundless video clip that it says shows Officer Mettler walking up to a shackled man in a spit hood that covered the man’s entire head. The footage shows the man with his hands cuffed behind his back seated against a wall.
The officer then strikes the man on the side of his head with his hand. The force makes him fall over and slump to the floor.
The officer eventually picks up the man from the floor and resets him before walking out of the room.
The video shows at least two officers witnessing the incident. At least one of the officers reported it to their superiors.
Officials say the man had become combative after being detained for public intoxication. Officials said the man had been verbally and physically combative and attempted to spit at officers, prompting them to use a spit hood.
The 35-second video was recorded on August 24, 2017 in the holding area of the San Joaquin County Jail, according to the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office.
Officer Mettler was charged with a misdemeanor count of assault by a public officer about a month after the incident, according to the sheriff’s office.
The district attorney’s office released a statement condemning the actions saying, “This behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office released a statement with the video on Facebook Tuesday evening, saying “…it is with sadness that we share with you this video…”
The sheriff states that the man had been brought in by Manteca police officers.
“What happens next is one of our correctional officers enters the holding area and then, inexplicably, strikes the man in the head. The detainee was sitting, legs and arms cuffed, and apparently posing no threat,” reads the sheriff’s office statement.
“As Sheriff, I don’t condone the actions as portrayed on this video by our jail staff,” said Sheriff Steve Moore. “It is inconsistent with the professionalism of San Joaquin County Correctional Officers, and of this department. The action taken by the DA’s office is appropriate and we support their position.”
The sheriff expressed gratitude to the Manteca police officer who witnessed the incident and “immediately reported the matter up the chain of command.”
Mettler was immediately placed on administrative leave, where he remains, according to the sheriff’s office.
Along with the surveillance video from inside the jail, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office said they launched an internal affairs and criminal investigation which they have handed over to the District Attorney’s office for prosecution.
Mettler is due in court on March 26, according to the district attorney’s office.
The district attorney’s office wants people who have witnessed or experienced cases of assault by an officer to call them at (209) 468-3620.
© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.