PERRIS, Calif. - An arrest caught on video in Perris is causing outrage in the Inland Empire.
In the video, captured on June 7, an officer is slamming a woman, identified as Joaquina Mendez-Medrano of Fontana, onto the ground while arresting her.
Mendez-Medrano was one of 15 vendors cited for vending without a required city permit, which was brought to the attention of Riverside County sheriff's deputies after spotting the vendors walking into traffic to sell products to people caught in the congestion, sheriff's officials said.
Mendez-Medrano refused to cooperate with the officer issuing the citation and she attempted to walk away. After providing several fake names, attempting to leave, and pushing the officer away, the officer attempted to arrest Mendez-Medrano, according to sheriff's officials.
"Our officer told Ms. Mendez-Medrano she was not free to leave and was under arrest, and held her arm to prevent her from fleeing," a sheriff's department press release read in part.
When Mendez-Medrano resisted, a "very brief physical struggle ensued" before she was taken into custody, officials added.
Community members are accusing the officer of police brutality.
On Saturday, a group known as The Mexica Movement joined city residents as they held a protest demanding the officer be held accountable for using excessive force on the woman.
Organizers also called for an end to what they said is racial profiling against the Hispanic community.
"He grabbed her flowers that she was selling and he slammed them on the ground, and right then and there, I was a little worked up hearing the stuff he was saying, but I went in there and grabbed my tablet and started taking pictures," said witness Christian Lem.
The Riverside County Sheriff's Department said it was investigating the incident.