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Man who appeared to be hit, kicked by San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy speaks out

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A man, who appeared to be getting hit and kicked in the head by San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies in a video, spoke about the incident Friday with his lawyers and family present. (KABC)

A man, who appeared to be getting hit and kicked in the head by San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies in a video, spoke about the incident Friday with his lawyers and family present.

"It's a feeling like adrenaline is rising and it's a bad feeling," Gerardo Vazquez said.

A video circulating online appears to show two San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies trying to arrest a man, who was later identified as 21-year-old Vazquez, on Jan. 26. One deputy appeared to punch the suspect.

Vazquez's lawyers accuse the deputies of then "lifting him like a puppet," and one deputy kicked him in the head three times, at one point even stomping on him.

"Anger kicked in and then from there on my feelings exploded," Vazquez said.

His mother, who only spoke Spanish, asked how anyone could do that to a person. Family members said Vazquez suffers from an undiagnosed mental health issue.

They went on to say he spent four nights in jail, was released and then driving to a hospital by a deputy. He was released from the hospital Friday. Vazquez's family said they were not able to see him until he was released.

"How could they hit him over and over again? I mean I've seen so many videos out there, but it never occurred to me that it was going to happen to my family," aunt Rosa Trujillo said.

A source with the sheriff's department said after the incident paramedics treated Vazquez at the scene and he was then taken to jail. At the jail, Vazquez was placed on a mental health hold until he was released and transported to a hospital, where he was again placed on a mental health hold.

His attorneys said they have not filed a claim against the county yet.

One of the deputies was placed on administrative leave over the suspected use-of-force incident.

The Sheriff's Employees' Benefit Association released a statement regarding the incident, which said in part:

"The Sheriff's Employees' Benefit Association stands firmly with its member at the center of a video-taped struggle with an uncooperative suspect and asks the community not to rush to judgement but consider the complexities of this profession and the person behind the badge.

Our member, whose name is not being released, should be afforded due process before conclusions are incorrectly drawn about his character, his work ethic or his commitment to public safety. Working in law enforcement has been a life-long dream for this deputy. We ask the public to consider this before allowing a snapshot of one moment in time define him; or to skew the danger he was facing during the call for service."

Related Topics:
use of forcecaught on videocaught on camerasan bernardino county sheriff's departmentSan BernardinoSan Bernardino County
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