A disturbing video surfaced showing a burly Arizona deputy with wraparound shades and black tactical gloves wrestling with a 15-year-old boy with no arms or legs, holding him in a headlock while laying his body weight on the boy.
"Get the f_ck off me," the boy tells as the Pima County sheriff's deputy tightens his grip on the boy.
"You're going to calm down?" the deputy asks as his body smothers the boy's body.
The boy had been accused of throwing a tantrum inside the group home he lives in after being abandoned by his parents, specifically kicking over a plastic garbage can (despite the fact he has no legs).
The Pima County Sheriff's Department said the boy also threatened a staff member in the home.
The video was recorded by another teen living at the home, a 16-year-old boy named C.J. who intervened by telling the deputy to ease up on his friend. The quadruple amputee has been identified only as Immanuel at this time.
Both teens were arrested on a disorderly conduct charge which is a common "contempt of cop" charge.
The incident took place in September but the video only surfaced Thursday after the Pima County Public Defender's Officer sent the video to KOLD News 13 which first reported the story.
The deputy eventually gets off Immanuel but then stands over him berating and threatening him, asking him questions, then yelling at him to "stop moving" when the boy responds.
But the video shows the boy was hardly moving. He was only telling the deputy that he did not have to raise his voice.
"I'll raise my voice at you whenever the f_ck I want, you understand?" the deputy says.
That was when C.J. intervened.
"Hey, you asked him a question and he answered," the 16-year-old says while continuing to record.
The deputy orders C.J. to shut up and go back to his room.
"You shut the hell up, you have nothing to do with this, you understand?" the deputy tells C.J. after storming up to him and standing over him in a menacing manner.
"Get the f_ck out of my face," C.J. responds.
The Pima County Sheriff's Department claimed it had not seen the video until it was shown to them by reporters from KOLD which reported the following:
KOLD showed the video to the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, which did not know about it beforehand.
After watching it, the PCSD said it is beginning an internal investigation.
Joel Feinman, the Pima County Public Defender, was outraged when he saw the video.
“Men with badges should not be acting this way,” he said. “Men and women who do act this way should not have badges and guns.”
The Washington Post also spoke with the public defender.
“These are kids who have already been traumatized in some way,” said Feinman, whose office is representing both boys. If a parent reacted to their teenager acting up in the same way the deputy did, he added, “they might be arrested for child abuse.”
While most information about the teens is being withheld to protect their privacy, Feinman said that Immanuel, the 15-year-old quadruple amputee, is in state custody because he was abandoned by his parents. On the morning of Sept. 26, an adult who works at the group home called police to report that Immanuel had knocked over a trash can and was yelling and screaming. Feinman isn’t sure what got the teenager riled up, and, in his opinion, it doesn’t matter.
“Fifteen-year-olds who have not been through what Immanuel went through act out all the time,” he pointed out.
The deputy from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department who responded to the call determined that Immanuel was disturbing the peace, and decided to restrain him, Feinman said. That’s when C.J., a 16-year-old who also lives at the group home, began surreptitiously filming from an adjoining room.
The 8-minute unedited video can only be seen on KOLD at this time. It is embedded halfway down the page under "graphic content warning." We have requested the video from the Pima County Defender's Office.
The KOLD News 13 news report is posted below.
UPDATE: Charges against the teen have been dismissed, according to the Associated Press, which made no mention about the other boy's judicial status.
UPDATE II: The deputy has been identified as Manuel Van Santen, according to the Arizona Republic. Van Santen is an award-winning deputy who was listed as president of the Fraternal Order of Police Pima County Lodge 20 in 2017.
Feinman, the Pima County Public Defender, told the Republic that Van Santen needs to be "punished accordingly."