The video, released Monday, has sparked national outrage. It shows the officer confronting the man, identified as Nandi Cain Jr., as he crossed an intersection and attempting to talk to Cain but the situation quickly escalates.
After some words are exchanged while Cain is standing in the street, the officer then violently throws Cain to the ground and begins to punch him in the head.
The events leading up to the incident were not captured by the camera, and it is not possible to hear the conversation between Cain and the officer before the incident occurred.
Bystander Naomi Montaie, who took the video and posted it on Facebook, can be heard screaming, “Oh my God! Why’d you take him down like that? No! That was wrong!”
Montaie filmed the five-minute-long video as the officer called for back-up. Six additional officers arrived to assist in Cain’s arrest.
In a statement, the Sacramento Police Department said the officer originally “attempted to detain a pedestrian for allegedly unlawfully crossing the street.”