A Sacramento Police officer is under criminal investigation for a “disturbing” incident, captured on two videos, in which he threw an accused jaywalker to the ground and punched him repeatedly.
The two-year veteran of the force, who has yet to be identified, has been placed on administrative leave with pay while his actions are under review.
“I thought I was going to be the next Trayvon Martin to be honest,” Nandi Cain Jr., the accused jaywalker, said later in an interview with CNN affiliate KTXL.
Police released dashcam video of the confrontation, which occurred Monday after the officer exited his patrol car and approached Cain on a residential street in California’s state capital.
In the video, the officer accuses Cain of jaywalking and orders him to stop. After Cain protests, “I looked both ways,” and keeps walking, the officer says, “If you do not stop right now, I will take you to the ground.”
The two men then enter the street. Cain can be heard saying he is unarmed. He removes his jacket and tells the officer to take off his gun “and fight me like a real man.”
“I took off my jacket to let him know I don’t have anything (like a weapon),” Cain said later in the KTXL interview.
A cellphone video, captured by neighbor Naomi Montaie, shows the officer then shoving Cain, slamming him to the ground and climbing on top of him, beating him repeatedly in the head.
Cain was taken to jail and charged with resisting arrest. He also had an outstanding warrant for another misdemeanor charge, police said.
The episode sparked outrage on social media after Montaie posted her video to Facebook.
But after police reviewed the dashcam video and Montaie’s video, Monday’s charges against Cain were dropped.
“The actions of the involved Sacramento Police Officer are disturbing and (do) not appear to be reasonable based upon the circumstances,” the police department said in a statement. “The … actions that were observed are not indicative of the dedicated women and men who work for the Department.”