Hemet police officer punches trespassing suspect in confrontation caught on video

HEMET, Calif. (KABC) -- A video circulating on social media shows a police officer punch a trespassing suspect during an arrest in Hemet - an incident which has prompted an investigation.

The altercation happened at a parking lot of a supermarket near Stetson Avenue and State Street Monday, according to a witness.

The footage begins with the officer face-to-face with the young man, who was wearing a backpack. The witness said the man, identified by police as 19-year-old Edmund Franklin, was selling candy and sold her chocolate outside a grocery store. He was then approached by police.

In a press release provided to Eyewitness News early Tuesday morning, the Hemet Police Department said officers first approached Franklin around 3:30 p.m. after he was asked to leave by employees of a nearby business for "becoming aggressive" with them. Franklin was also said to be panhandling in the area.

Police said the man was told to leave and if he returned he would be arrested for trespassing. About 40 minutes later, police were called again and told Franklin had returned to the location and was refusing to leave.

"The first responding officer approached Mr. Franklin and attempted to detain him for a trespass violation when a use of force occurred," Hemet police said in its press release.

Video shows Franklin tell the officer multiple times he'll take his backpack off while the police officer is seen grabbing him.

"I'll take it off," Franklin said in the video.

The officer then punches him and a scuffle ensues. As the scuffle continues, the officer takes the man to the ground and subdues him for several minutes with multiple people looking on, the video showed.

Several of the witnesses shout angrily at the police officer to get off the man.

Multiple police officers then arrive to the scene as the witnesses become more irate over the officer's tactics.

Franklin was arrested on suspicion of trespassing, resisting an officer and attempting to disarm an officer, according to Hemet police. His bail was set at $10,000.

The police department said it's aware of the video circulating on social media and launched an investigation.

"We are reviewing the incident to include the social media posts and the Officer's body worn camera video," the police department said. "This incident, like any use of force incident involving a Hemet Police Officer is taken seriously and will be thoroughly investigated."

Police ask anyone with information about the incident to contact Capt. Glen Brock via email at gbrock@hemetca.gov or by phone at (951) 765-2473.

Copyright © 2021 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.