An unidentified Sacramento police officer has been put on administrative leave after a violent confrontation with a Black pedestrian. Police dash cams and a cell phone recorded the incident in which the officer accused Nandi Cain Jr. of jaywalking and began beating him after pinning him to the ground.
The incident comes at the same time U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is calling for a halt on nationwide police reform.
Cain, 24, was on his way home from work when the officer approached him and accused him of jaywalking. Cain told the officer he had looked both ways before crossing.
“Stop right now,” the officer says. “Stop right now before I take you to the ground.”
“You pulled me over for nothing,” Cain says.
The officer tells Cain to get down on the ground, to which Cain says that he doesn’t have anything on him.
“I don’t have nothing,” he repeats while removing his jacket.
The officer continues ordering Cain to get on the ground.
“If you a real man you could take your gun away and you could fight me like a real man,” Cain says.
At this point the officer shoves Cain, pins him on the ground and begins attacking him, punching him over and over.
Cain was charged with resisting arrest, but the charges were later dropped. The Sacramento police said there was “insufficient” evidence to file a complaint against Cain.
The Sacramento Bee reported that about 40 Black Lives Matter protesters gathered outside one of the police department’s facilities to protest. Cain’s girlfriend, who did not give her name, reported that Cain is “still in pain and recovering.”
An investigation into the incident is taking place.
“The actions of the involved Sacramento police officer are disturbing and do not appear to be reasonable based upon the circumstances,” the department said in a statement.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg called the officer’s actions “extremely disturbing and not representative of the training nor the expectations we have for our Police Department.”
A spokesman for the Sacramento County police, Sgt. Bryce Heinlein, said that when Cain removed his jacket he “appeared to challenge the officer to fight.”
But Cain said he did this because the officer was telling him to drop a weapon.
“So, as a form of defense, I took off my jacket to let him know that I am unarmed,” Cain told NBC News affiliate KCRA. “I don’t have anything. This is what you see. What you see is what you get. And he got mad, and he started taking off on me.”
Cain told the news outlet he was scared for his life during the incident.
“I thought I was going to be like the next Trayvon Martin,” he said. “I thought, as soon as they got me on the ground and they start putting my arms in different positions. I felt like they were going to draw a gun out and shoot me in my back or try to break my arms off or something.”
But at the same time, Cain does not want to assume he was targeted because he is Black.
“I don’t like to go with the stereotypical,” he said. “But you know, it’s a new day, it’s a new age. But you know what, racism is still alive too. And I can’t ignore that it is. It could be that, it could be something else.”
Meanwhile, AG Sessions ordered a review of previous police reform agreements to ensure they align with the new administration’s principles, calling it “not the responsibility of the federal government to manage non-federal law enforcement agencies.”
“The misdeeds of individual bad actors should not impugn or undermine the legitimate and honorable work that law enforcement officers and agencies perform in keeping American communities safe,” Sessions’ memo reads.