A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, detaining a woman on suspicion of endangering her baby, was caught on video punching her in the face while she held it. Robert Luna, recently elected Sheriff, told reporters that it was "unacceptable" but could not reveal the identity of the officer and says he only learned of the incident shortly before footage was released to the public, months after it took place.
The woman was punched after deputies pulled over a vehicle because it was driving without headlights just before midnight on July 13, 2022, in Palmdale, Luna said.
Deputies smelled alcohol and made the "discretionary decision" to arrest three women passengers who had three babies in their arms but not in car seats, as well as the driver, on felony child endangerment, Luna said.
Body camera video released Wednesday shows one of the women telling deputies "you're not taking my baby," and there is a struggle.
At least one deputy says the child is being hurt, the mother says to let go and that "you're breaking his … leg," and a deputy appears to punch her twice in the face, the video shows.
One might categorize what happened as impulsive misconduct. This, though, is measured sadism:
a female deputy asks, "are you going to give up the baby nicely, or am I going to have to grab him, and they're going to grab your hands? I don't want to do that, but those are your two options."