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The Marion County Sheriff's Office said it's reviewing use of force after an arrest on Monday, June 4, 2018, during which officers punch a man who appears to not be resisting.
Tom James, Associated Press
Published: 06 June 2018

Editor's note: This story, posted June 6, has been updated from an earlier version to correct the subject's name and gender pronouns. 

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Civil rights groups in Oregon are calling for an investigation after a video showed police punching a prone person in the head at least 16 times.

The video shows four officers converging on a man standing on a street, then pulling him to the ground, with three officers holding his limbs and one straddling his back. As one officer appears to struggle to force one of the man's arms behind his back, another begins punching him in the head.

Through the punches, the person repeatedly shouts "I am not resisting." The video was shot by Portland, Oregon, TV station KGW. (Thursday morning Oregonlive reported the person in the video is 28-year-old Tessa Lovelace, who identifies as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, and who has been referred to by police under the name Kevin Straw.)

The American Civil Liberties Union and the state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations both called for investigations.

The Marion County Sheriff's Office said the arrest happened Monday after Lovelace repeatedly shouted at officers involved in the search for two missing fishermen in the Detroit, Oregon, area. The sheriff's office said it's reviewing the officers' use of force, and that an outside agency would perform an additional review.

The release also said Lovelace had been contacted earlier by crisis intervention specialists after reports they had been yelling at passers-by in the area.

In the video, an officer forces Lovelace's right arm behind his back, and another grabs his left arm. But as the officers together lower the man toward the ground, face down, Lovelace extends their left arm in front of their body. As Lovelace is punched, an officer can be heard saying, "get your hand behind your back."

After the punches are delivered, a fifth officer jogs to the scene and puts his knee on Straw's head.

Aside from extending his arm, Lovelace does not appear to struggle in the video, and is eventually handcuffed.

In a later release, the sheriff's office identified the five deputies involved in the arrest and said one, Jake Thompson, had been reassigned to non-patrol duties pending the outcome of the review.

David Rogers, head of the American Civil Liberties Union in Oregon, said it wasn't clear why officers used force on the prone person.

"It looked like they were in pretty complete control, and yet a deputy proceeded to punch this man in the face 14 or 15 times," Rogers said. "It was incredibly disturbing."

Amy Queen, a spokeswoman for the Marion County district attorney said the office is consulting with the sheriff's office, but is not independently investigating the incident. 

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