Video: San Bernardino Co. deputy puts suspect in brief chokehold, slams him to ground

A disturbing cell phone video shows a San Bernardino County deputy wrapping his arm around a suspect's neck and then slamming him into the ground.

Anthony Armendariz told FOX 11 he was on his way home from work over the weekend. When he pulled up to his apartment in the 10100 block of Foothill Boulevard, he noticed a San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department deputy following him with the lights turned on.

"Had no idea he was pulling me over," Armendariz told FOX 11's news desk on Monday.

Armendariz told FOX 11 that he asked the deputy why he was being pulled over. The deputy allegedly told Armendariz he was speeding. 

The cell phone video taken by a witness shows the deputy trying to take Armendariz into custody. As the deputy tried to arrest Armendariz, the man told FOX 11 that the deputy allegedly twisted his wrist. In addition to allegedly twisting his wrist, the video shows the deputy briefly putting Armendariz in a chokehold before twisting him and throwing him into the ground.

Armendariz said he is traumatized by the incident.

"I have friends and family that are cops and for a cop to do that to me, it sucks. It's traumatizing. I would have never thought this would ever happen to me, especially being compliant with an officer," he said.

Armendariz also obtained surveillance video of the arrest, which shows him putting his hands into the air to follow the officer's orders.

"As soon as I said, 'I'm not resisting,' he put me in a chokehold, flipped me over and slammed me to the ground, and put his whole body weight on me. I actually have numbness [in one hand] from how hard he put the cuffs on. He slams my head while trying to shove me into his patrol car. I was in shock. I couldn't believe this was actually happening to me," said Armendariz.

Armendariz said he went to the Sheriff's Department on Monday to obtain his police report, but was told it would take two to three weeks to process.

"I'm probably not the first person this has happened to [regarding] that officer. I just want the right things to happen. If his badge gets taken away or he's just on office duty, I don't know but that man shouldn't be on patrol. I just want justice for myself and for people. This shouldn't happen to a hard-working citizen that's just coming home from work," he said. 

SBSD said the incident is under investigation. The department said the takedown was done to "gain control of the suspect."

SBSD issued the following statement in response to the incident:

"The deputy was attempting to handcuff the uncooperative suspect, after a reckless driving incident, and the suspect pulled his hands away from the deputy. The deputy initiated a takedown to gain control of the suspect. The suspect was arrested and booked for reckless driving and resisting a Peace Officer.

As is the case with every application of force by a deputy, the incident is being investigated at multiple levels."