A Southern California sheriff’s deputy was charged by prosecutors with assault after security camera footage showed him allegedly kicking a suspect in the head after the man appeared to have surrendered to authorities.
The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office said it has charged Deputy Corie Smith with one felony count of assault Under Color of Authority for his role in June 2021 arrest of Willie Jones in the city of Victorville, California.
According to authorities, Jones was riding a motorcycle and failed to stop for a traffic violation and then led deputies on a high-speed chase that ended near a car dealership in the city of Victorville. Jones then ditched his motorcycle, fled on foot, the sheriff’s department said. According to video obtained by TMZ, Jones hid under a truck and then surrendered. Smith then approached Jones, who was on his stomach, and appeared to kick him in the head, authorities said.
Smith, 28, was taken off duty and placed on administrative leave following after Jones’ arrest and evidence in the case was handed over to the district attorney’s office for investigation.
“Deputy Smith’s conduct in no way diminishes that of the law enforcement professionals who serve with integrity and uphold the rule of law daily within our county and across the country,” DA Jason Anderson’s office said in a statement announcing the charge.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said it will conduct its own internal investigation to determine what disciplinary measures to take against Smith.
“I committed when this incident came to my attention; if wrong-doing occurred, those responsible would be held accountable,” said Sheriff Shannon Dicus. “I support the decision of the District Attorney’s office. Our deputies are the finest in the nation, take great pride in their work, and are honored to serve the community. When we fall short of that commitment, I can assure you we will get in front of the issue and handle it in a manner the public has come to expect of this organization.”
Smith is scheduled for arraignment on January 26, 2022.
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