Video showing LA County deputies punching man in Palmdale prompts investigation

PALMDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- A use of force investigation has been launched after cellphone video captured Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies punching a man repeatedly in Palmdale during a DUI investigation on Saturday.

Video shows deputies reaching into the driver's side of a car and begin to tug, punch and use other physical tactics to force the man out of the vehicle. Eventually, they resort to pulling the man out.

At least half a dozen deputies then work to restrain the man while he is on the ground and deliver more blows. They then handcuff the man before hauling him toward a patrol car with his pants down to his ankles.

The incident unfolded just after 5 p.m. in the 38000 block of 35th Street East.

In a statement regarding the incident, the sheriff's department said:

"Palmdale deputies assigned to the Palmdale station were conducting a driver under the influence investigation when the use of force ensued. Due to the active investigation, we are unable to offer further comment at this time. The use of force will be subject to a full, complete, thorough and objective investigation."

The suspect, 35-year-old Samuel Reyes, made his first appearance in court Tuesday. He is facing misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest. He entered a plea of not guilty to the charges.

A judge set bail at $30,000 for Reyes.

Richard Maguire, who recorded the video, says he quickly noticed Reyes was refusing to get out of the vehicle as deputies used force to get him to comply.

He added he wants to keep an open mind as to what happened, but from his point of view, he believes deputies used excessive force.

Civil defense attorney Terry Goldberg, who met with Reyes' family, said he is appalled by the video.

"I don't think in our society we should be supportive of police officers that beat up citizens in the efforts to make arrests," he said.

"It's a travesty of justice," Goldberg added. "It's unfair and we know sometimes the outcome could be dangerous and could lead to death."

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