A sheriff's deputy in Oregon has been temporarily reassigned after he was caught on video repeatedly punching a man on the ground who had been disrupting a search and rescue mission on Monday.
The footage, captured by KGW, shows four officers from the Marion County Sheriff's Office grabbing 28-year-old Kevin Straw outside a post office in Detroit, Oregon, and wrestling him to the ground. One deputy, identified as Jake Thompson, then proceeds to punch the man in the head more than a dozen times.
"I am not resisting," Straw yells several times, repeatedly shouting "stop, stop" and "help" as the blows continue.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon is calling for the Marion County District Attorney's Office to investigate the violent arrest.
"That video is disturbing. It's violent. Honestly, if that does not represent excessive use of force, I'm not quite sure what does," David Rogers, executive director of the Oregon ACLU, told KGW8.
The Marion County Sheriff's Office said it has temporarily reassigned Thompson to a non-patrol role and is reviewing the footage and the arrest. The office identified the other deputies involved as Derrick Ramseyer, Dave Zahn, Ethan Griffith, and Mark Ferron.
In a statement, the office said that it "continues to gather all relevant facts and information about this arrest and will be reviewing the use of force applied in accordance with the office policy."
Sheriff Jason Myers said he will ask an outside law enforcement agency to review the findings of the office's probe once it is completed.
The sheriff's office said Tuesday that the use of force occurred because Straw was physically resisting the deputies.
Around 10:30 a.m. Monday, Straw — who the sheriff described as a "transient" living in the area — repeatedly interfered with the search efforts for a missing father and son, Myers said in a statement. The 28-year-old "refused multiple commands to leave" and "deputies were left with no choice but to arrest him," the sheriff said.
Myers also noted that deputies had been called on Saturday to deal with Straw's "disruptive behavior." He had been yelling at people walking by about "cougars and military Special Forces," according to the statement.
In the video, Straw can be heard shouting at one point, "I came to warn you about the cougar. There's a cougar. It's hurting people."
After searching him, deputies found a large, fixed-blade knife, the office said. Straw received a mental health evaluation at the Psychiatric Crisis Center in Salem and was cited for interfering with police and resisting arrest.