A Flagstaff, Arizona police officer may be in some hot water after being caught on tape punching a female suspect in the face. In the video, which originally surfaced on Facebook, the Flagstaff police officer, who has now been identified as Jeff Bonar, can be seen striking an unidentified woman in the face with a closed fist.
As ABC 15 reports, the incident took place sometime Wednesday afternoon and was caught on camera by the woman’s boyfriend. In the full-length video of the altercation, which can be seen on Facebook (warning: explicit language), the woman can be seen being uncooperative with the arresting police officers. She repeatedly asks them if they have a warrant as Officer Bonar apparently attempts to cuff her hands behind her back. Her hands are out of the view of the camera and it is impossible to see what she is doing with them in the struggle.
An officer can be heard telling her that she does not have a warrant, that he needs to run her name. The woman can be seen and heard continuing to be uncooperative (but non-violent) and saying that she “knows my laws,” as she is being physically detained by Flagstaff police officer Jeff Bonar and a second unidentified officer. Seemingly in an instant and without provocation, Officer Bonar is seen pulling back his fist and punching the woman directly in the face so hard her head was knocked completely back with the force of the hit. Check out the clip.
After apparently being hit in the face by the Flagstaff police officer, the woman can be seen beginning to wail. An off-camera male voice, which had been telling the woman to cooperate with the police throughout the video, suddenly becomes louder and more pronounced:
“Hey, you can’t hit a girl like that.”
@abc15 That was uncalled for, there are other measures that can be used on a mildly uncooperative woman other than a closed fist punch.
— Scooter (@bolognafish1) 17 November 2016
Reportedly, the disturbing video was brought to the attention of the Flagstaff Police Department hours after the violent incident took place, sometime on Wednesday evening. By that time, the footage had spent some time circulating around social media. When faced with the video of their officer caught on tape punching the woman in the face, the Flagstaff Police Department announced that it would be launching an internal investigation into the incident.
“Our agency is very concerned by what is depicted in this video. We are immediately initiating an internal investigation into this incident.”
Some time after the news broke that the Flagstaff police officer was being investigated for allegedly punching the woman, Flagstaff police officials issued a statement calling the punching victim “somewhat uncooperative,” adding that she was “struck in the face by the officer.”
In the aftermath of the damning video of the incident, Officer Bonar has reportedly been suspended. It is unknown at this time whether his administrative leave is paid or unpaid.
As Fox 10 Phoenix reports, the video of the punching incident was recorded by the victim’s boyfriend with his cellphone camera. Allegedly, prior to getting into the verbal (and ultimately physical) altercation with the irate woman, the Flagstaff police officers had shown up at the couple’s residence because they believed they had a warrant for the woman’s arrest.
During the Facebook video of the punching incident, she can be heard repeatedly telling them that she didn’t have a warrant, as well as demanding that they prove she had a warrant before detaining her.
As 12 News reports, after punching the woman in the face, the Flagstaff police officer was able to cuff her and get her into the back of a waiting police cruiser. She was ultimately arrested for “resisting arrest.”
At this point, it remains unknown whether or not the woman actually had an outstanding warrant for her arrest when the Flagstaff police officer was caught on video punching her in the face.