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‘Use of force’ investigation is underway in Palmdale


The Palmdale Sheriff’s Station has confirmed it will launch an objective use of force investigation after a video circulated on social media showing deputies restraining and apparently punching a man in Palmdale on Aug. 28.

The incident happened on 35th Street East and Palmdale Boulevard, behind Midway Market Liquor, according to the person who posted the video.

The video begins with deputies reaching into the driver’s side of a grey vehicle, as one of the deputies appears to repeatedly punch into the vehicle. The video then cuts to several deputies piled onto a person on the ground. The video eventually cuts again to a partially clothed man being carried away by three deputies.

A message posted Aug. 31 to the Palmdale Sheriff Station’s Facebook page states: “On August 28, 2021, at approximately 5:15 p.m., deputies assigned to Palmdale Station were conducting a driving under the influence investigation when a use of force ensued. Due to the active investigation, we are unable to offer further comment at this time. The use of force will be subject of a full, complete, thorough, and objective investigation.”

The man in the video was identified by family members as 35-year-old  Samuel Chavez Reyes. He was arrested that day and booked into the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station jail.

Chavez Reyes was charged Tuesday with two misdemeanor counts of resisting an executive officer in connection with Saturday’s arrest, according to Ricardo Santiago of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. Reyes would plead not guilty to the two charges. He is scheduled to return to court on Sept. 8 for pretrial.

Community activists condemned the deputies’ actions and called on Sheriff Alex Villanueva to remove them from duty.

“Deputies involved in this incident are a threat to the safety and security of our community,” said Dr. Miguel S. Coronado, chairman of the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station Community Advisory Committee. “This criminal behavior will continue to occur as long as qualified immunity protects rogue deputies.”

“Nevertheless, it’s utterly important not to paint every deputy as a criminal,” Coronado added.